The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) engineers in Phoenix will get real-time information on the conditions of four interstate bridges in remote northwestern Arizona thanks to technology funded by a $768,000 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant.
To enhance safety and efficiency, ADOT will use the Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration grant to add structural health monitoring systems to the I-15 bridges, embedding sensors on the superstructures that record, analyze and share data.
The systems, which will be installed in Fall 2015, will help ADOT identify and address problems quickly and decide when the bridges will need major repairs or replacement. They also will help ADOT engineers determine when to conduct inspections, which are required at least every two years and involve lane restrictions.
Since early 2014, ADOT has invested nearly $30 million in several I-15 bridges, including an ongoing upgrade of Virgin River Bridge No. 6. The monitoring systems will be installed on four other bridges, two of them in the gorge and two in its outer reaches. One of those, Virgin River Bridge No. 1, is scheduled for a $33 million upgrade in fiscal year 2019.
Opened in 1973, the stretch of I-15 connecting southwestern Utah and southern Nevada passes through 29 miles of Mohave County, including the Virgin River Gorge. About 1.4 million commercial vehicles use the route annually.