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Real-time assessment of bridge vulnerability (BLESS)

[Borgoforte bridge]

BLESS is presently integrated in a new monitoring system on a bridge over the Po river, Mantova, Italy, thanks to a collaboration between Province of Mantova and Politecnico di Milano (and GHT photonics support). The goal of this system is to evaluate the real-time vulnerability of the bridge by calculating the safety factor of the bridge failure.

In a nutshell, the monitoring system acquires the main parameters to calculate the force on the bridge: velocity and direction of wind by anemometer, level of the river by hydrometer, riverbed level around pier by echo-sounder and BLESS and presence of debris accumulation upstream the pier by camera. A structural model of the monitored pier identifies the critical section and the safety factor is calculated.

Nowadays no device can be considered standard regarding the riverbed level measure but unfortunately this information is crucial to define the stability of the bridge. In the Borgoforte monitoring system BLESS is used to help echo-sounder under critical condition like floods.

This is the first complex monitoring system in Italy. It works from March 2011. Even if is presently under development, the collaborator team think that system is an important step forward in a better bridge emergency assessment.