Date of this Version
Bridges have to be inspected regularly for defects, which might have been caused by several natural as well as human factors. The National Bridge Inspection Standards sets the requirements regarding the bridge inspection frequency, inspector qualifications, report formats, and inspection and rating procedures. Despite the inspection standards and an inventory database, catastrophes due to deterioration of critical bridge components still occur. The collapse of the I-35 Bridge on Mississippi river in August, 2007 raised several issues on bridge safety. In an effort to ensure that such catastrophes are avoided, several measures were taken which included the publishing of the AASHTO Guide Manual for Bridge Element Inspection.
Despite the publication of AASHTO’s element based bridge inspection guide, there are many roadblocks that exist in implementing an element based bridge inspection and condition rating system. One of the most significant barriers is documentation and management of the inspection and condition rating data. A new data management system, which contains element information, needs to be developed to assist with the implementation of the element based bridge inspection and rating system.
A three-dimensional visualization tool was developed using Trimble’s SketchUp software and its Application Programming Interface (API), which captures the condition rating of a bridge at an element level. 3D visualization aids in the processing of complex bridge information. It thus becomes a useful tool in formulating bridge related policies and maintenance procedures. A prototype of this 3D visualization system was built and tested.
Adviser: Zhigang Shen