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 Waipawa Bridge, on State Highway 2, crosses the Waipawa River about 70 km south of Hastings, Hawke’s Bay region, North Island. It was selected as one of these 10, because it is relatively old (in service since 1958), is a steel girder structure with spans longer than usual for this type of bridge, and the girder spacing is relatively wide. The fitness for purpose evaluation derived from ambient heavy vehicle traffic suggests that the bridge is performing better than the theoretical evaluation suggests. Reasons for this improved performance are discussed in the report.
Keywords: bridges, bridge dynamics, bridge health, bridge loads, heavy vehicles, loading, monitoring, New Zealand, performance, roads, superstructure, traffic