Bridge health monitoring is a method of evaluating the ability of a bridge to perform its required task (also called fitness for purpose) by monitoring the response of the bridge to the traffic loads it has to withstand.
This research project, carried out in 1998–1999, is part of stage 2 of the short-term health monitoring and 'fitness for purpose' assessment of 10 bridges on New Zealand highways, in order to develop and evaluate the methodology. The Otauru Bridge, on State Highway 57, crosses the Otauru Stream between Levin and Palmerston North, Manawatu Region, North Island, and is essentially a large reinforced concrete culvert. It was selected as one of these 10 because it has a large crack at midspan, and the structure was visibly deflecting under traffic. The fitness for purpose evaluation indicates that intervention is required.