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 Tuakopai Bridge, on State Highway 29 that leads to the port of Tauranga, Bay of Plenty Region, North Island, was selected as one of these 10. It is representative of a large number of bridges in New Zealand built between the early 1930s and late 1940s. The span is typical of many of these bridges, and the removal of the original reinforced concrete guardrails has decreased the stiffness of the structure. It therefore provides an example that represents a lower bound for bridges without guardrails and a similar form of construction.
Keywords: bridges, bridge dynamics, bridge health, bridge loads, heavy vehicles, loading, monitoring, New Zealand, performance, roads, superstructure, traffic