Unique sensors on Twin Bridges collect data on barge collisions - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Unique sensors on Twin Bridges collect data on barge collisions

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You may be surprised to learn that it's pretty common for the Twin Bridges to get hit by a barge. You may be surprised to learn that it's pretty common for the Twin Bridges to get hit by a barge.

Traffic was down to one lane on the northbound Twin Bridges Wednesday morning as crews did maintenance work on the bridge barge sensors that were installed in 2008.

The Twin Bridges are one of only two locations in the entire country to have these barge sensors, and they're being used to collect some important data.

You may be surprised to learn that it's pretty common for the twin bridges to get hit by a barge.

"You know, maybe once or twice a year," said Keith Todd with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Fortunately, it hasn't happened in a while.

Todd says that is likely due to the low water levels, but when it does happen, sensors located on pillars of the bridge register important information about the crash.

Todd said, "It gives the engineers information that they can hopefully use in the future to design better bridges, and the ramifications for repeated impacts over a long period of time."

When there is a barge strike, inspectors have to close the bridge for a couple of hours to do a general check.

Researchers hope the data collected by the sensors will cut down on the response time.

"An immediate benefit we would get is if we could set it up to immediately call our bridge inspectors and say 'Hey, there's been a barge hit on the bridge,'" Todd said.

That's not the only benefit.

Todd said, "Long term though, they will be looking at the data so that when they design bridges in the future, you know, that the piers may be designed differently."

Transportation officials say on average, about 37,000 vehicles pass through the bridges each day.

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