UK Govt. lab to study its own redundant 14 tonne foot-bridge

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Washington, April 2 : A government laboratory in London plans to use a 14 tonne foot-bridge it once built as a sample for analysis, with a view to improving civil engineering structures.

For the last 46 years, the 20 metres long and 5 metres high bridge has been an important part of the Teddington-based National Physical Laboratory (NPL)-a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology.

All these years, it allowed access from one side of the NPL site to the other.

However, with redevelopment of the NPL site, the bridge has become redundant.

NPL scientists were of the opinion that studying the old bridge could help them improve civil engineering structures.

Burton Smith and Beck and Pollitzer expertly carried out the task of moving the structure from the demolition zone using a 250 tonne capacity crane that extended nearly 50 metres into the sky.

After lifting the bridge it was then trailered across the NPL site, with essential co-operation from LGC, taking an hour to travel the quarter mile earlier this year, squeezing around tight turns and under trees before being lifted above existing buildings to its final resting place.

The bridge will now be used as a demonstrator to try out different techniques for monitoring structures for a government project so as to encourage UK industry and UK infrastructure to use monitoring to maximise the lifetime, and minimise maintenance costs for civil engineering structures.

During the three year project the bridge will be loaded until it cracks, repaired using new composite repair methods and then retested.

NPL experts hope to gain unearth evidence for the cost saving benefits of structural health monitoring through this work.

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