Engineers weigh in on bridge monitoring Friday, 30 November 2018

When 24 U-trough beams needed to be transported across Melbourne on the back of large trucks, civil engineers were called in to monitor the weight impact and any possible damage on six different bridges along the journey.

The beams were transported as part of Victoria's level crossing removal project. Due to their size and weight, each U-trough beam was transported individually over 24 nights, travelling by road at about 20 km/h. Each load weighed 400 tonnes, including all vehicles.

Civil engineers from Melbourne's Monash University designed and installed real-time monitoring over which the beams were transported. What's interesting is that the monitoring design was unique to each location, dependant on the bridge's design and age.

The engineers also had to work under the constraints of a fully operational road system, including requirements for road closures on major freeways.

Monash's Civil Engineering Department provided expert staff, post-graduate engineers and equipment to undertake the real-time monitoring on the six bridges. They were tasked with verifying that the bridges had not been damaged and could carry a similar load the following night.

"The project was a major opportunity for highly-skilled civil engineering post-graduate students to apply their lab experience to the challenge the U-troughs presented," senior lecturer in structural engineering, Dr Colin Caprani said.

"These graduate engineers are adaptable and learn quickly on site. They are capable of using advanced technology to deliver on the client’s immediate needs."

The university said Monash Civil Engineering demonstrated how valuable it is as a partner to industry.


IMAGE: 24 U-trough beams were individually transported across Melbourne safely thanks to engineers from Monash University. Source: Level Crossing Removal Authority.