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Continued: Wisconsin to start experiment with bridge-failure sensors

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA and JAKE SHERMAN , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Last update: September 27, 2007 - 9:57 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation uses Material Technologies' EFS technology as one of its bridge-inspection tools, said Rich Kirkpatrick, a spokesman for the department.

He declined to say whether the state was satisfied with the equipment.

None of the bridges where the technology is being used in Pennsylvania is as large as the I-35W bridge or carries its high volume of traffic, he added.

3-month Wisconsin test

In Massachusetts, state transportation officials are using Material Technologies as part of a pilot program. "It's still early in the process for us," said Erik Abell, a department spokesman. "We're still reviewing some of their findings in their first round of work."

The strain gauges that Wisconsin will be installing beginning next month will be used to collect measurements for about three months.

The bridges include two that reach Minnesota: The Hwy. 243 bridge over the St. Croix River at Osceola and the Hwy. 14-Hwy. 61-Hwy. 16 bridge over the Mississippi River near La Crosse. Wisconsin is contracting with three companies for the sensors, at a cost of about $300,000, Hubbard said.

"It's all about getting the information as quickly as you can," he said.

The definition of "quickly" is changing, however. When the program was announced in August, the sensors were to have transmitted data as it was collected to WisDOT headquarters. But on Sept. 17, Chris Klein, the department's executive assistant, said the sensors would not report data in real time after all.

Mike Kaszuba • 612-673-4388 • mkaszuba@startribune.com Jake Sherman • 202 408-2723 • jsherman@startribune.com

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