Case Studies


The monitoring was activated to verify the structural behavior of the deck under traffic loads, in order to prevent the development of potential mechanisms of rupture or damage, given the fragile collapse of one of the spans during the planned demolition phases of the bridge. The measured bridge deformations were compared in real time with the established threshold levels for the work, allowing for the evaluation of structural safety.
Location: Italy
Project type: Highway viaduct
Number of measurement points: 80
Number of sensors: 80
Installation period: February 2016


  • Executive plant design
  • Installation assistance
  • FE modeling and post-processing of data


  • Analysis of the viaduct behavior under traffic loads
  • Notification of any anomalous behavior of the structure under operational conditions
  • Evaluation of the expected threshold values in terms of deformation under load of the deck to ensure adequate levels of work safety
  • Risk mitigation of collapse through a more detailed understanding of structural behavior
  • Planning of targeted maintenance interventions


The viaduct "ITALIA" , located on the A3 motorway connecting Salerno and Reggio Calabria, is one of the highest road infrastructures in Italy and the second in Europe. In 2016, the viaduct underwent structural consolidation interventions with composite materials and concrete restoration. The structural work is a total length of 1161 m, has a central span of 175 m, and is 261 m high from the valley floor, with the tallest piles reaching a height of 130 m. It has two adjacent carriageways and two mixed steel-concrete decks, except for the central part with a single metallic deck made with an orthotropic plate. Each deck has two double T metal beams connected by connector pins to a reinforced concrete slab. The viaduct consists of three central steel spans connected to the North and South abutments by seven and nine prestressed concrete spans, respectively.

Between Wednesday 24 and Friday 26 February 2016, 80 MEMS technology inclinometers were installed to fully describe the deck deformation under traffic loads. The monitoring system involved the Salerno-bound carriageway, which was subject to both directions of travel at the time due to the Reggio Calabria-bound carriageway dismantling work. The monitoring system was divided into two sections, called NORTH and SOUTH, respectively, the seven spans to the north and the nine spans to the south of the steel deck.

Five inclinometers were installed on each deck, fixed to the outermost beam's web. Therefore, the two sections (NORTH and SOUTH) were monitored through 35 and 45 sensors, respectively, connected to a control unit that sent the collected data to the cloud database in real-time.


The monitoring of the Italia Viaduct was implemented to verify the structural behavior of the deck under traffic loads, in order to prevent the development of potential failure or damage mechanisms. The need to set up a monitoring plan arose from the brittle collapse of one of the spans during the planned demolition phases of the bridge. The failure was caused by a discrepancy between the as-built and the actual construction, with particular reference to the layout of the precompression cables.

A specific data processing algorithm designed ad hoc for the case under analysis allowed for an efficient real-time monitoring of the structural safety of the deck. The measured deformations of the bridge were compared in real-time with the threshold levels established for the structure. A first alert level was identified equal to the maximum expected deformation of the deck under project traffic loads. A second and more severe alarm level was set to signal deformations corresponding to permanent damage to the structure. The measurements were compared in real-time with the threshold levels mentioned above. The analysis of the evolution of the deformation state of the viaduct allowed for an evaluation of the structural safety over time.


Case history


The monitoring system has been specifically designed in terms of number and positioning of sensors to capture the complex dynamic response of the structure. By means of FEM modeling of damage scenarios, appropriate dynamic thresholds have been calculated for the continuous monitoring of the state of the stays and the evolution over time of the response of the footbridge deck.

The monitoring system consists of 28 transverse measurement sections aimed at controlling the tensile and deformation evolution of the tunnel lining over time. The monitoring system, consisting of MEMS inclinometers integrated with post-installed local tension-deformation sensors within the lining, allows for both local and global monitoring of the structure's response. The diagnostics are complemented by nonlinear FEM modeling and a real-time alert service for any structural issues.
The monitoring aims at analyzing the behavior of post-tensioned cables during the bridge's operation, through time and frequency domain analyses. Real-time monitoring is a key tool to provide useful information for the detection of possible effects induced by ongoing deterioration or fatigue processes. The analysis allows a comparison between the expected modal parameters and the measured natural frequencies in the initial monitoring conditions, with consequent definition of corresponding attention and alarm threshold levels set for automatic alerting of the operator.
The structural monitoring and diagnostics of the two tunnel tubes are supported by a complex non-linear FEM modeling, through which, for each monitoring section, the deformation and the evolution of its ovalization with respect to the evolution of the ongoing landslide phenomenon are evaluated. In cable sections where the mechanical characterization and the surrounding stratigraphic conditions are completely similar, a Data-Driven approach is used to extend the Performance Indicators and monitor the most significant structural response parameters at all measurement sections.
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