Summer 2019

Health monitoring for Cornwall’s Tamar Bridge

James Fisher Testing Services (JFTS) has expanded its bridge monitoring portfolio with an eight-year structural health monitoring contract for the Tamar Bridge in South West England

The Tamar Bridge is a suspension bridge built in 1961 as a crossing for the River Tamar that divides Cornwall and Devon. With a main span of 335m, it joins the Forth Road Bridge, the Queensferry Crossing and the Mersey Gateway as long-span UK bridges now using JFTS services.

All are fitted with BridgeWatch®, a system that collects data from weather, temperature and structural movement sensors into a sophisticated software solution for advanced analysis, to offer secure, real time monitoring of the entire structure.

BridgeWatch generates information from the data, to give insight on prevailing environmental conditions and their effects on the bridge. This helps the operations team make informed decisions regarding the management of traffic flow to assure the safety of road users.

‘We’re looking forward to working with JFTS to deliver this important structural health monitoring project for Tamar Bridge,’

Says Richard Cole, engineering manager at the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee.

‘The new weather stations will provide essential information to help our operations team deliver a safe and reliable service to bridge users and the data obtained from the structural monitoring sensors will provide an essential record of bridge performance that will support our robust inspection and maintenance regime, both now and into the future.’

As data is accumulated over time, the system will develop a detailed picture of the bridge’s performance under a variety of conditions which will be used to optimise inspection and maintenance strategies in the future and allow Cornwall and Plymouth Council to extend the bridge’s operational life.

Matthew Anderson, head of bridges and structures at JFTS who co-ordinated the tender says:

‘We are delighted to have secured this contract after many months of talks and particularly pleased that the operators of another high profile bridge have chosen BridgeWatch for the management and monitoring of data.’

The system will go live later this year and JFTS will continue to host client data for an initial period of eight years, using UK-based servers on a secure, cloud-based interface.

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