One of our most innovative digital solutions is the WSP Canary system, an online Trigger Action Response Plan system [TARP] for structures and geohazards. Our system compares key observable environmental data, such as rainfall of river flow, to key triggers for risk mitigation actions such as increased inspection, route closures or traffic management. The intent of this system is to provide confidence to asset owners, asset managers and asset users before, during and after natural hazard events by providing risk insights across various assets and networks. These insights help asset managers make difficult decisions concerning network and structure safety around significant weather events and enable proactive measures to be deployed to protect the public and the assets.
Going forward, how do you envision DiBAM helping owners and managers of bridges as they continue to enhance asset management?
Raed El Sarraf: We are continuing to develop and add new modules to DiBAM that, over time, will build upon and improve how we assess and manage bridges.
One such module currently in development is a concrete bridge deterioration risk screening module called CreteMOD. Concrete is a greater challenge than steel, as we are dealing with the deterioration of not just the cement in the concrete but the steel reinforcement as well. Issues are typically manifested in the form of cracks, rust stains or spalling; however, they can also be invisibly occurring below the surface. To address this risk, we have developed a pathway to determine a practical level of inspection and testing to mitigate the risks of these invisible and insidious deterioration modes.
While the modules we are discussing deal with the condition of the construction material aspects of a bridge, we are also developing natural hazard risk screening modules in line with best industry practice. The aim of these is to assess the risk natural hazards pose to bridges, starting with scour and seismic risks. By incorporating an understanding of these risks with the structure’s condition, we can provide a clearer picture of the resilience of an individual bridge or a bridge network that will assist in determining investment decisions and justifying undertaking preventative measures to mitigate that risk.
We will continue to incorporate new modules, technologies and wider systems as they evolve and are identified to add value to DiBAM and to our clients.
What distinguishes DiBAM from current market offerings?
Raed El Sarraf: Our point of difference is the development of a predictive and proactive approach to bridge asset management and the connection of correlated data sources and systems. This is achieved by developing a multidisciplinary approach that combines the knowledge of our materials subject matter experts, asset managers and structural engineers to develop digital modules that interact within a DiBAM framework. Each module focuses on different failure mechanisms and risks, to complement bridge condition information that will help make better-informed decisions about maintenance and investment for bridges and manage the risks they will experience.
It is important to emphasize that our approach complements current best practice; hence, regular inspections will always be needed, to monitor and track the condition of the bridge and the deterioration of its structural components over time. These inspections are then compared against the maintenance plan, to confirm whether the anticipated timing is optimal for work to be done.
WSP’s DiBAM framework and modules are a product of our Future Ready®2 approach, to design for the future as well as today. In this case, our solutions are designed to help asset owners and managers meet the challenges of managing aging bridge assets and the typical associated risks during their life—as well as the impacts related to extreme weather events due to climate change.