Department of Homeland Security to Test U.S. Bridges for Vulnerability

U.S. Department of Homeland Security to test U.S. Bridges for Vulnerability

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has joined forces with the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center to conduct series of experiments that assess potential vulnerability of critical structural components of aging steel bridges.

The research will work to address how materials, connection details and designs in aging bridges react to IEDs, other explosives, kinetic impact, intense fires and other accidents. In addition to vulnerability analysis, DHS S&T is funding several complementary efforts that investigate advances in effective and affordable ways to strengthen bridges. Data obtained through such research will help update computational models, and may be integrated into engineering software for construction of more durable bridges.

More than 600,000 bridges in the U.S are 20 feet long or longer, some over a century old, and many of them national iconic monuments. Bridges slated for demolition are hard to come by, says S&T Transportation Security Laboratory’s Tom Coleman. However, last year the research team found out that the Ft. Steuben Bridge, a vintage 1929 suspension bridge in Steubenville, Ohio, was to undergo demolition in 2012. With the Ft. Steuben Bridge closed to traffic, there was a unique opportunity to conduct onsite tests. “We developed a way to perform controlled impact testing on the bridge using a specially designed cold gas thruster device,” said Coleman. “Lateral impact loads were directed at specific locations on the main cable and forces transmitted to the rest of the structure were monitored in real time. This testing, along with similar experiments performed a few years ago on the Waldo Hancock Bridge in Maine, will help us learn bridge behavior and develop mitigation measures to better prevent damage.”

In a laboratory, it’s nearly impossible to replicate the myriad dynamic and static forces that interact within a bridge structure. Opportunities to conduct field tests at the Ft. Steuben have made it possible to gain better knowledge of in-situ bridge behavior. In addition to the onsite testing, cables and steel tower sections were recovered from the Ft. Steuben Bridge following its recent demolition. These specimens will be assessed to determine material characteristics and vulnerabilities during blasts, and to further develop mitigation measures.

“Our current work is quite unusual because we are testing actual vintage bridge components from long-span bridges, as opposed to newly manufactured samples,” says John Fortune, S&T’s Bridge Vulnerability Project Manager. “The results will help us predict susceptibility to different threats and develop effective, feasible technologies to protect the Nation¹s bridges. We are developing innovative approaches that will protect iconic bridges from hazards, and also aid in building smarter, more secure bridges for the future.”

Most U.S. bridges are owned by regional authorities, state departments of transportation, private authorities, county authorities, or local municipalities. These bridges are designed using codes and standards approved by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), whose membership includes State DOTs and other bridge owners.

The work taking place will be shared with AASHTO and specific bridge owners and operators to ensure that project results will be available to engineers responsible for building new bridges and renovating existing ones.

 

Featured

  • Security Today Launches 2023 Government Security Awards

    Security Today Launches 2023 Government Security Awards

    Security Today is proud to announce the launch of the 2023 Government Security Awards. The Govies honor outstanding government security products in a variety of categories. For this year’s awards program, participants can choose from 38 different categories to enter their product(s) into. Read Now

  • Back to the Basics

    Back to the Basics

    Security is a continuous evolution of practices and procedures. The developments in technology and advancements in threats make security difficult at times. Although security from one location may look different from another location, there is a common goal applied to security measures. The common goal is protection. Read Now

  • The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    As security technology has become more widely used, the interest in new capabilities and increased security measures has increased. As we head into 2023, these three trends will shape the security landscape. Read Now

  • TSA Breaks Record Nationally and in Washington for Firearm Discoveries in 2022

    TSA Breaks Record Nationally and in Washington for Firearm Discoveries in 2022

    Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers in Washington detected 164 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2022, with the majority of the firearms discovered at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s (SEA) security checkpoints. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • Altronix eFlow

    Altronix eFlow™ Dual Voltage Access Control Kits

    Altronix has launched an enhanced line of eFlow™ power supply/charger kits that provide 12 and 24VDC simultaneously for locking devices and peripherals. 3

  • ComNet CNGE6FX2TX4PoE

    The ComNet cost-efficient CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is a six-port switch that offers four Gbps TX ports that support the IEEE802.3at standard and provide up to 30 watts of PoE to PDs. It also has a dedicated FX/TX combination port as well as a single FX SFP to act as an additional port or an uplink port, giving the user additional options in managing network traffic. The CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is designed for use in unconditioned environments and typically used in perimeter surveillance. 3

  • Dahua 2-Wire IP Video Intercom System

    Dahua 2-Wire IP Video Intercom System

    Dahua Technology is introducing a new line of expandable 2-wire IP video intercom solutions for the North America market. The New 2-wire IP video intercom is more advanced, cost effective, and designed to help businesses increase their security. 3