Australia is a land familiar with harsh environments, exercising the resilience of our infrastructure. The biggest test however, comes from the day-to-day, ever-increasing use of our roads and bridges.

Rising traffic volumes and aging infrastructure pose a serious risk of unplanned maintenance and network disruptions if left unmanaged. For bridge owners, managers and operators, knowing how the bridge is performing and ensuring its availability to service is critical.

Routine bridge inspections are an essential component of the decision-making process for resource allocation in transportation agencies, but the inspections themselves require significant labour, resources and are prone to human error.

They can be disruptive to road and rail users, and manual methods do not provide the deep or timely insights needed to fully understand both near-term and long-term structural health issues.

Eloque, a joint venture between the Victorian Government and Xerox, aims to solve the lack of insightful bridge data so that asset owners can confidently and more effectively monitor their fleet of bridges.

The use of remote sensing technologies presents a new approach to asset management, augmenting current practices by providing both qualitative and quantitative measures of a bridge’s condition, all whilst enabling integration with emerging digital smart city technologies.

Established in 2021, Eloque has already been installed on twelve bridges across Victoria as part of a $50 million Victorian Government program.

The system uses multiplexed fibre-optic sensors attached to structures to accurately measure and estimate parameters indicative of bridge condition online, such as structural strain, thermal response, and other metrics.

Ambitious infrastructure monitoring

Understanding how bridges respond to loads over time permits us to design and schedule interventions that will prolong a structure’s life while moving to more preventative actions and reducing unplanned maintenance.

These insights give engineers the ability to manage structures at an individual bridge, route, or regional basis. The technology has shown its importance for savings in bridge inspections and engineering assessments, design feedback for stakeholders, as well as other applications such as train or vehicle axle monitoring and super-load planning.

Eloque is taking advantage of the recent innovations in data science, engineering, high-speed internet connectivity, and secure cloud analytics.

Whilst Eloque is deployed on road, rail and pedestrian bridges, its system architecture can also lend itself to applications in many other asset classes in the future. The agreement with the Victorian Government Department of Transport will see more than 60 installations this year, making it the most ambitious infrastructure monitoring project of its kind.

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This sponsored editoral was brought to you by Eloque.

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