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 Waitangi Washout Bridge, on State Highway 2, which crosses the Tutaekuri River, between Napier and Hastings, Hawke’s Bay region, North Island, was selected as one of these 10. It is an old (built in 1935), two-lane, three girder, reinforced concrete structure, with a low conventional strength rating.
Health monitoring results show that the bridge performs substantially better, with more capacity than required, than the theoretical evaluations predict. 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