[Case Study] I-78 Toll Bridge Rehabilitation and Safety Improvements in Pennsylvania

When it comes to road and bridge safety, Pennsylvania has always been quick and alert. To boost this point, the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) acknowledge improvement projects on road safety and bridges.

They conduct this award along with several teams and organizations. Now, we will look at the project undertaken by Encardio Rite. The I78 bridge is a dual-road bridge that is located on Interstate 78 on Easton Road, near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


Importance of Bridge Monitoring and Risk Assessment

Geotechnical instruments and monitoring solutions are very important components in the construction of any structure. The simple reason is that these instruments and sensors help in assessing the deficiencies and damages borne by a structure.

It has been reported that the estimated average annual bridge collapse rate in the United States is somewhere between 87 to 222. This makes an average amount of 128 bridge collapses per year.

Bridge in USA

Several hundred and thousands of lives have been lost over the years. It has become necessary to assess the risk and monitor the performance of any structure before any more lives are lost.

I-78 Toll Bridge – Project Overview

The project timeline is for the year 2020-2021. The project task was regarding the rehabilitation of the I-78 dual road bridge located in Bethlehem. The i78 Easton Road Bridge Abutment Project was built in 1984 and was installed on the muddy site. This was the reason that made it difficult to clear the boreholes of the installations. Apart from that, there was a bigger issue of the gap created between the i78 bridge and MSE walls.

i78 Easton Road Bridge

Project Complications

As mentioned above, the main complication regarding the i78 bridge on Easton Road was the opening and clearing of the boreholes. In the difficult circumstances of the site, it was quite difficult to install any sensors or instruments.

The boreholes were very muddy and as a result, it was quite a challenge to install any monitoring instruments. We had to install a special traffic-rated utility vault and ABS boxes as the i78 bridge is quite busy. We also used ABS boxes so that the data was protected for a long time from any damage.

Bridge monitoring instruments     geo monitoring instrumentGeotechnical Monitoring

Geotechnical Monitoring Solutions Offered

The competent team of Encardio Rite assessed the situation on time and came up with an accurate plan of action. Encardio Rite planned the use of monitoring programs and instrumentations to overcome these challenges.

Rite Geosystems Inc, the subsidiary of Encardio Rite in the USA was assigned the task of monitoring the i78 bridge’s real-time movement pattern for both west and east of the bridge abutments. Furthermore, we also provided cloud-based data management solutions.

Geotechnical Monitoring Solutions

I-78 Bridge Project Assessment & Details

The results of the inspection conducted on the site revealed the separation in the MSE walls and the i78 bridge. Encardio Rite conducted several more inspections and carried out the project with flying colors.

Geotechnical Instruments Used

  • Piezometer: We collected information regarding the changes in pore water pressures under the i78 bridge abutments. Hence, Piezometer was used to monitor the pore water pressure and the level of groundwater. So, we installed several multi-level vibrating wire piezometers.


| Also Read: Piezometers: Types, Functions, & How it Works? |

  • In-Place Inclinometer: This instrument was used to check the bi-axial deformation. The Inclinometer helped us with monitoring the sub-surface lateral movements.

In-Place Inclinometer

| Also Read Digital Inclinometer System: Introduction & How Does It Work |

  • Dataloggers: Here it was necessary to record and transfer data to remote servers. Hence, Automatic compact wireless dataloggers with GPS/GPRS modems were used.


| Also Read: Type of Data Loggers and How Do They Work? |

  • Multipoint Borehole Extensometer: Last but not the least, it was necessary to record the deformation of the rocks/soil layers. So, these Borehole extensometers were used to monitor the soil/rock deformation at various depths.

Multipoint Borehole Extensometer

Borehole extensometer

| Also Read: A Guide on Geotechnical Instruments: Types, & Application |

i78 Easton Road Bridge

IPI data

The I-78 Easton Road Bridge was one of the toughest projects that we handled. Not only do we have to struggle with the natural deformation of the site but the technical aspect of the bridge too. We are proud to say that our competent team of technicians and powerful equipment guided us through it.

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