ROADS/BRIDGES: ODOT hopes sensors prevent falling ice on I-280 bridge

Research leads to creation that detects frozen hazard before it becomes a problem

Bridges News December 23, 2014
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Falling snow is difficult enough to deal with out on the road. In Ohio on I-280, motorists also have to watch for falling ice.
 
Since its opening, the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway over the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio, has been closed three times due to the frozen hazard, but the Ohio DOT believes it has a solution heading into the hard winter months. Researchers at the University of Toledo and University of Cincinnati have developed a system to prevent falling ice on the cable-stayed bridge.
 
It involves the installation of new sensors on the cable stays’ stainless steel coverings and a new weather station that comes equipped with devices that can identify conditions conducive to ice forming on, and “shedding” from, the steel coverings.
 
The centerpiece of the innovation is the creation of a sensor capable of detecting the development of a sheen of water between ice and stay sheaths that is a strong indicator that ice chunks may break loose. The sensors use electric current to identify the different electrical resistance properties of ice, water and ice-water mixes.
 
“The sensors provide invaluable insight on ice formation, and in the rare event that ice falls we can efficiently manage any closures,” Todd Audet of ODOT told The Blade.
 
The weather station comes with ice-thickness and moisture detectors and can measure precipitation. It also comes with a solar sensor to predict heat.

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