This paper focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as a supplementary bridge damage quantification tool. For this study, a glued-laminated timber arch bridge in South Dakota was selected, and an UAV was utilized for the bridge damage quantification. A recommended four-stage UAV-enabled bridge damage quantification protocol involving image quality assessment and image-based damage quantification was developed. A field application using the UAV to measure crack lengths, thicknesses, and rust stain areas of the selected bridge was conducted following the recommended protocol. The image quality parameters, including sharpness and entropy, were used to determine the quality of the UAV-captured images. Pixel- and photogrammetry-based measurements using the high-quality images were obtained to quantify the bridge damage, and the damage was compared to that from actual field measurements. Once the damage information was gathered, the UAV image–based damage level classification was established based on the damage levels defined by current standards. The findings confirmed the accuracy of the recommended protocol, with results within 3.5, 7.9, and 14.9% difference for crack length, thickness, and rust stain area, respectively, when compared with the field measurements.
As timber bridges have become archaic, they are no longer able to effectively service their community. It is neither practical, nor possible, to replace all existing timber bridges, hence it is of paramount importance to maintain and extend the service life of those remaining timber bridges. The following discourse intends to provide an extensive and comprehensive review of the various deterioration mechanisms, the preventive actions and possible remedial options for management and maintenance of timber bridges. The classified information has been summarised in a tabular format and presented as a ready-reckoner taxonomy for quick reference. This taxonomy is purely a re-staetment of the information already covered in the paper, but when presented in the summary form, reference becomes highly convenient.
The field of Civil Engineering has lately gained increasing interest in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly referred to as drones. Due to an increase of deteriorating bridges according to the report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a more efficient and cost-effective alternative for bridge inspection is required. The goal of this paper was to analyze the effectiveness of drones as supplemental bridge inspection tools. In pursuit of this goal, the selected bridge for inspection was a three-span gluedlaminated timber girder with a composite concrete deck located near the city of Keystone in the state of South Dakota (SD). A drone, a Dà-Jiang Innovations (DJI) Phantom 4, was utilized for this study. Also, an extensive literature review to gain knowledge on current bridge inspection techniques using drones was conducted. The findings from the literature review served as the basis for the development of a five-stage drone-enabled bridge inspection methodology. A field inspection utilizing the drone was performed following the stages of the methodology, and the findings were compared to current historical inspection reports provided by the SD Department of Transportation (SDDOT). Quantified data using the drone such as a spalled area of 0.18 m2, which is identical to the measurement provided by the SDDOT (0.3 m by 0.6 m), demonstrated the efficiency of the drone to inspect the bridge. This study detailed drone-enabled inspection principles and relevant considerations to obtain optimum data acquisition. The field investigation of the bridge demonstrated the image quality and damage identification capabilities of the drone to perform bridge inspection at a lower cost when compared to traditional methods.
Project contacts are James Wacker at the Forest Products Laboratory, Justin Dahlberg and Brent Phares at Iowa State University
The use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) has gained popularity over the past decade, with many advances stemming from completed research and construction projects in Europe. Many inherent advantages of CLT (such as, it is prefabricated, relatively lightweight, dimensionally stable, and environmentally sustainable) have been utilized in vertical construction projects. Despite these advances, the use of CLT in bridge structures has been limited, and the adoption of CLT into governing design codes has been slow. However, CLT shows promise as a complementary or alternative construction material in bridge decks, and additional research would help characterize the structural attributes of CLT decks to guide their use in bridge projects.
Timber bridges have been built for decades all around the world. The hygroscopic material behavior of wood leads to the change of the moisture content of the wood and the dimensions depending on the climate. Therefore in regular inspections following questions arise: what happens with the wood due to the climate changes? Are there major changes of the moisture content? Are there differences between the natural material axes or within the cross section of the structural members? To answer these questions, traffic timber bridges with big cross sections are long-term monitored within a research project. The results of the moisture contents measured and a comparison between the different measuring groups and positions are presented. The analyses confirm that the moisture content in the wood follows the climate changes delayed and with smaller amplitude against the calculated equilibrium moisture content. In first steps, a different behavior of the change of the moisture content could be determined over the cross-section and along the span of the member.
An innovative concept for a modular timber concrete composite system for short span highway bridges has been designed and key components experimentally validated. The proposed system consists of a Ultra-High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete(UHPFRC) deck and glue-laminated timer (glulam) girders linked to act compositely together by reinforcing steel bar shear connectors. This composite system has light, stable modules that can be rapidly constructed on site with less special equipment. Simple design checks indicate that the concept satisfies all serviceability limit state(SLS) and ultimate limit state(ULS) requirements of the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code. Pull-out tests characterized the embedment lengths of 20M steel bar connectors to be 10 bar-diameters in UHPFRC. Push-off tests determined the embedment lengths of the same bars to be 30 bar-diameters glued into the timber girders. The slip modulus of the connectors is determined to be 67 kN/mm. The stiffness of the crosswise self-tapping screw connectors were tested and found to be structurally insignificant in this application. The excellent tensile and cracking properties of the reinforced UHPFRC deck was experimentally verified. A small amount of reinforcement would further improve the ductility of the UPHFRC deck system.
The monitoring of timber bridges during their service life is important for the maintenance plans of these structures. Numerical modelling can integrate the monitoring techniques by reducing the needed inspections and the maintenance costs. In this paper a 3D computational model based on a well assessed multi-Fickian theory is implemented in Abaqus FEM code. The hygro-thermal response of a timber pedestrian bridge is simulated during a period of its service life. The numerical results are in agreement with measurements taken by a sensor-based technique. Conclusions are given on the moisture gradients which could generate the so-called moisture induced stresses (MIS).
The Petawawa Research Forest (PRF) was established in 1918 and is the oldest research forest in Canada. It is located along Highway 17, east of Chalk River, Ontario, and is part of Garrison Petawawa under the jurisdiction of the Department of National Defence. By special agreement, it is managed by the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, under the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada. The research undertaken at the PRF influences forest policy, industry, silvicultural practices, and private forest management practices across the country. Operational commercial harvests also occur at the PRF.
Meridian Road is an access road at the PRF and leads to research, forest management, and recreational sites. A multi-cell culvert system at Young’s Creek recently failed (bottom left), and the crossing needed large-scale maintenance to allow the continued movement of logging trucks, vehicles, and research teams. The culvert failure negatively impacted water flow and habitat. To rectify these issues, a modern, single-lane engineered wood product (EWP) bridge, named Centennial Bridge (bottom right), was installed and built by Corington Engineering Inc., of Renfrew, Ontario. The experience at the PRF is of interest to sustainable forest licence (SFL) holders (and municipalities) looking to gain more knowledge about the construction and design of EWP access road bridges. The goal of this case study was to highlight the main construction and design details of Centennial Bridge and draw some comparisons to conventional steel-logging road bridges.