Winter 2013

Strainstall goes Forth

Strainstall has secured a prestigious contract to deliver a structural health monitoring system and service on the Forth Replacement Crossing in Scotland, highlighting the company’s reputation as an international leader in strain gauge technology.

The new cable-stayed bridge of the Forth Replacement Crossing will carry a motorway with two general lanes of traffic plus hard shoulder in either direction. Supported by three slender single column towers, the completed structure will be 2.7 km long including its approach viaducts. Designed to complement the existing road and rail crossings over the Firth of Forth, the £790 million bridge construction contract is the result of extensive studies commissioned by Transport Scotland since 2006, involving international teams of engineers. Final design and construction is currently being undertaken by the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium, comprising Hochtief, Dragados, American Bridge International and Morrisons Construction.

Advanced monitoring technologies

The contract will see Strainstall provide a package of technology and services comprising a comprehensive structural health monitoring system for the new bridge. The company will apply a range of sophisticated monitoring technologies to the structure, allowing its precise movements and loadings to be monitored in real time, both during the construction phase as well as throughout the service life of the new bridge. These include tri-axial strain gauges and accelerometers, load cells, temperature sensors, displacement transducers, and automated monitoring and deformation analysis based on global navigation satellite systems. A key aspect of structural health monitoring is in data processing and analysis, and Strainstall will supply its highly advanced BridgeWatch® software for this purpose. This integrated package provides a comprehensive suite of web accessible tools providing real-time information on the structure as well as archiving of data recording throughout its service life. The Strainstall team firmly believes that this sophisticated software will become an industry benchmark.

Multi-skilled and experienced team

David Gray, Strainstall’s senior project manager, will oversee the delivery of the contract and manage the in-house team, comprising specialist staff with extensive civil engineering construction experience as well as skilled mechanical and electronic engineers. The team will apply a combination of various structural monitoring sensors, data acquisition units as well as the BridgeWatch® software.

“This represents a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the development of the UK’s infrastructure and to demonstrate Strainstall’s capabilities on this complex and prestigious project. Due to the dedication and commitment of our staff, Strainstall is in a very strong position to become the leading provider of structural monitoring in all parts of the world.”

Explains David, who also sees this contract as a significant step in the development of the company’s structural health monitoring solutions.

This contract award is a further demonstration of the international name and reputation of Strainstall in the provision of structural health monitoring both for new build civil engineering projects as well as the protection of important heritage structures.

“To be part of this major infrastructure project is extremely exciting and we’re very proud to have been asked to partner with FCBC to support them with our structural health monitoring package. The new bridge over the Firth of Forth is a huge development and we are pleased to be able to play our part in providing the required monitoring services for this significant investment for Scotland.”  

Says Strainstall managing director Richard Burmeister.

An international reputation

Strainstall boasts an extremely impressive track record on the structural monitoring of bridges, including the Jiangyin Yangtze Bridge in China, the Golden Jubilee footbridges of London’s Hungerford railway bridge, as well as in monitoring aspects of other major civil construction projects such as Crossrail. As such it is ideally placed to assist FCBC with the structural monitoring solution it requires for this very important new infrastructure development. 

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