Our projects

Investigating structural behaviour on busy motorway bridge

M6 College Road Bridge, Birmingham

Carrying over 180,000 vehicles per day over the M6, a number of hairline cracks had been observed on the stiffeners of the College Road Bridge. The stiffeners were critically located at the mid-span of the bridge below the southbound section of the motorway.


vehicles per day


samples taken per second


day monitoring period


Busy road traffic bridge showing hairline cracks
Structural monitoring solution implemented to investigate
Full data set presented to the client for review

Products used on this project

The challenge

This bridge carries six lanes of the M6 so it was vital to monitor its structural behaviour to ensure that maintenance plans could be put in place making sure it remained in good structural health. The structural monitoring solution required by Amey had to be quick, straightforward, and one that did not compromise on accuracy.

Our solution

Our expert team designed a bespoke, real-time monitoring solution to investigate the dynamic load on two of the bridges ten box girders. The installation time of this monitoring system was minimal and was implemented without the use of destructive techniques that could potentially influence the structure.

The system consisted of three key elements:

  • Dynamic strain was measured using foil-strain gauges positioned strategically on the stiffeners
  • Temperature sensors were also installed across the length of the two girders to mitigate any temperature induced strain on the measurements
  • Finally, movement of the cracks on the stiffeners due to traffic loading, was observed via a number of displacement sensors

One thousand samples a second were taken and sent directly to our Insite web portal. Following a seven day monitoring period, the data collected was then presented to the client for review.

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