PacTrans- Phase II Structural Health Monitoring and Condition Assessment of Chulitna River Bridge

Abstract and project information last updated: 3 January 2013. Project updates are dated below.

J. Leroy Hulsey



1 September 2012
End Date
31 December 2013


The Chulitna River Bridge, built in 1970, is located at Historic Mile Post 132.7 on the Parks
Highway between Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska. The Parks Highway is the most direct route
connecting Anchorage with Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay. Heavy overload vehicles, up to 410,000
pounds, regularly travel the route. The original bridge was a 790-foot long, 5 spans continuous
bridge with two exterior steel plate girders and three sub-stringers. It had a cast-in-place concrete
deck 34 feet wide. In 1993, the bridge deck width was increased to 42 feet 2 inches by replacing
the original cast-in-place deck with precast concrete deck panels. To accommodate the increased
loads, the two original exterior plate girders were strengthened, three new longitudinal steel
trusses were installed utilizing the original stringers as top chords, and steel bracing was added to
the piers. In August 2012, University of Alaska Fairbanks will design and install a real time Fiber Optic
structural monitoring system on bridge to determining if the girders are overstressed for standard
highway loads and permit vehicles. The final working thresholds will be established
for automated notification should changes in structural response occur or established thresholds
be exceed. After September 1, 2012, the University of Alaska Fairbanks will continue monitoring and
analyzing the experimental data until December 31, 2013; this is Phase II. The test results will be used to Identify changes in load distribution for the girders and trusses. It will also be used to identify if structural changes occur. Further the information will be used to provide alerts when sensing systems approach or exceed established limits. It will also be used to develop a protocol for application of SHM program to bridge monitoring for other bridges in Alaska.

Related Project Activity

23 April 2014

Structural Health Monitoring & Condition Assessment of Chulitna River Bridge Phase I


Sensor Selection- Field Installation Report FINAL 12_24_12 (edit JLH,2)

SHM Training Report FINAL 12_24_12 (edits jlh)