To determine the physical and functional condition of a bridge, LJB regularly completes bridge inspections for various counties and municipalities throughout Ohio. These inspections are required by the National Bridge Inspection Standards and the Ohio Department of Transportation and follow a fairly straightforward process across the industry.
I was surprised when I read this article from Roads & Bridges magazine highlighting research being done at Brigham Young University that uses raindrops to inspect the structural integrity of a bridge.
Their research shows that the sound created when a droplet makes impact on the bridge can diagnose the health of the concrete. The method is as simple as dropping droplets of water on the material and recording the sound.
While this research is still in a preliminary stage, it has the potential to turn bridge inspections into rapid, cost-efficient exercises, particularly for large bridges. Any process that will save a county, municipality or DOT time and money is good news for all of us.