The planning, engineering and construction of a bridge is just the beginning of the structure’s life, which can be expected to last up to a century or more.

It is no surprise then that structure owners are eager to protect the future with advanced infrastructure planning that takes advantage of monitoring and inspections at an appropriate frequency, while ensuring that the transportation that drives their economies will continue to flow during the inevitable future periods of maintenance and repair. 

WSP’s asset management and refurbishment design services help our clients to optimize the lifespan of their bridge projects through predictive analyses and innovative solutions. Our Bridge Asset Management teams are specialists in the inspection of existing structures, material and condition testing, the development and operation of IT-based asset management systems, and the design of both strengthening schemes and permanent condition-monitoring systems.


Bridge Maintenance

A thorough bridge inspection program helps to ensure small problems never become large ones. WSP bridge inspectors, qualified on all relevant national competence schemes, examine every components of a bridge to determine its physical condition. Our engineers are skilled in seeking the root causes of deterioration and strain, recommending necessary corrective actions, and evaluating alternative repair/rehabilitation methods that meet the specific needs of our clients and the community.

For the Blatnik Bridge Management Study, we were mandated to identify the investments necessary to enable the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to efficiently and effectively maintain the structure. The study reviewed the existing bridge conditions, identified the risks to the long-term bridge performance, recommend bridge maintenance and rehabilitation strategies for future actions, and proposed replacement strategies.


Bridge Inspection

WSP’s dedicated bridge inspection teams has carried out more than 70,000 operations and our Bridge Inspection Program conducts more than 2,000 bridge inspections annually. Our engineers are experienced in visual and tactile inspection of road, highway, and railroad bridges. We use the gathered data to prepare load rating analyses that compare design load and current condition capacities.

The State of Bridge Infrastructure Project is a structured research program reviewing the delivery and results of Highways England’s Bridge Inspection programme. The project has involved WSP site presence and independent inspection at 200 bridge structures across the UK, with over 300 additional structural investigations, such as concrete testing, undertaken at those structures to better understand their condition.

This site investigation work has been paired with cutting edge data science techniques in order to interpret, process, and present trends in the inspection data understand the implications of the site investigations on the data Highways England collects on its structures and its use in decision making. The project aims to enable Highways England to reduce, better target, and better justify its spend on structures maintenance, enhancing the value derived from investments made at all stages of a structure's lifecycle and in the structures management information systems used to support decisions.

WSP inspection reports provide bridge owners with the data and recommendations critical to planning both routine bridge maintenance and immediate repairs, while facilitating the long-term planning for rehabilitation or replacement.

Some of the advanced inspection techniques used by WSP include:
1. NBIS and AASHTO Element Level Inspection
2. CSS Criteria
4. Specialist and roped access, confined space
5. Reliability Based Inspection
6. Instrumentation and Health Monitoring
7. NDE/NDT (Visual, Sounding, Impact Echo, Infrared, GPR)


Innovative Inspections

WSP also invests in new technologies, including the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones. In 2016, WSP applied UAS technology to several bridge inspections carried out in conjunction with the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority. We also advise clients on emergency repairs for high load strikes of bridges and mobilize teams to assess and propose repair work after such incidents. Currently we undertake dozens of high load strike analyses every year in Alberta, Canada to keep the busy highways open to the oil fields.


Bridge Repair

WSP provides detailed inspections specific to a bridge’s unique structural conditions, helping clients to minimize repair costs and reduce operational risks. However, when repairs are needed WSP’s experienced engineering teams deliver efficient solutions, including:

  • Temporary bridges and traffic maintenance plans
  • Patching and emergency repairs
  • Bridge deck repair and replacement
  • Staged replacement plans
  • Strengthening using composite materials (FRP)


Structural Evaluation

Condition assessments are crucial to planning repair and replacement projects and provide accurate, up-to-date assessments of bridge conditions. WSP’s structural evaluation services examine all components of a bridge in order to determine its overall physical condition, enabling the most efficient and cost-effective recommendations for our clients.

WSP evaluations include:

  • Load rating/assessment
  • Vulnerability analysis
  • Preservation strategies
  • Masonry arches

Load testing measures the structural response of a bridge under a variety of load conditions to determine its structural integrity. Data obtained from theoretical analysis, instrumentation, and monitoring of load testing can eliminate unnecessary repairs and help to predict optimal maintenance and rehabilitation requirements.

WSP’s experience in load testing includes the provision of structural evaluations and refined load ratings for several structures under the authority of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Through diagnostic field load testing and the application of 3D finite element analysis, WSP reported findings for each structure that included details of test protocols, observations from field tests, finite element analyses and realistic live load distribution factors for subsequent use in refined load rating analyses.

For the 5-year framework covering the period 2014-2019 Structures Assessments under the Civils Assessments Framework Agreement (CAFA) to Network Rail, WSP serves the Sussex, Wessex, Western and Wales Routes in delivery of Level 0, Level 1, and Level 2 structural assessments of rail and road bridges, culverts, footbridges, station canopies, and other civil structures as required by the Route Asset Managers.

Bridge Diagnostics

Bridges are capital-intensive assets which require systematic maintenance and preservation. Detailed structure condition assessments play a critical role in the effective management of bridge infrastructure.

Our team utilizes field instrumentation, testing, and finite element analysis to provide insight into structural behavior and to generate estimates of realistic load distributions in a bridge and its components. Such diagnostics allow our teams to determine the true load carrying capacity of a structure and to diagnose potential deficiencies that cannot otherwise be identified. WSP also collaborates with leading technology providers on tasks involving material testing and corrosion condition evaluations of structures.

Applications of WSP bridge diagnostics include:

  1. Strength assessment
  2. Fatigue life assessment
  3. Crack investigation
  4. Tracking structure movements
  5. Diagnosis of site-specific conditions with defects/deterioration
  6. Cable tension assessment
  7. Determination of modal properties and dynamic response characteristics
  8. Risk assessment associated with structural resonance
  9. Structure health monitoring
  10. Corrosion and material evaluation of existing structures

WSP’s bridge diagnostic technology can determine actual capacity and help identify potential weaknesses for even the most complex structures, utilizing field instrumentation, load testing, modelling, and finite element analysis. Combined with assessment technology that evaluates corrosion levels throughout a structure, these non-destructive techniques can determine the remaining service life of a bridge in a proactive rather than reactive manner.


Structure Monitoring and Rehabilitation

Our teams provide detailed assessments of existing bridges in order to develop innovative solutions for their rehabilitation. WSP is experienced with a wide variety of construction methods and our services include bridge assessment, remediation, strengthening, and reconstruction.


Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit 

Seismic engineering is playing an increasingly important role in the design and rehabilitation of infrastructure as planners, designers, and engineers seek new ways to protect and extend the service life of their facilities. Seismic elements that increase strength, improve ductility, and reduce potential earthquake damage must be incorporated into the development of new bridges, roads, tunnels, rail lines, and buildings, as well as into the rehabilitation of existing facilities.

Using experience obtained from seismic design and retrofit studies for bridges, our teams use sophisticated computer models to evaluate the response of structures and the resulting seismic forces and displacements acting on structural members. Based on the outcome of these studies, measures to withstand such forces and displacements are then incorporated into a design and include extensive detailing to improve performance under seismic loads. WSP’s seismic retrofit designs apply to individual elements of a bridge that, when taken as a whole, serve to reduce deck movement, strengthen columns, and improve foundation stability.


Services Include:

  1. Maintenance and operations programs
  2. Physical condition inspection services and reports
  3. Load rating/assessment and evaluation studies
  4. Soundings and underwater inspections
  5. Long-term asset management plans
  6. Management of sub-standard structures
  7. Special inspections for post tensioned structures
  8. Structural health monitoring
  9. Structural material testing
  10. Decommissioning/end of life studies