The Victorian government will partner with global technology company Xerox to remotely monitor bridges and keep traffic and trains moving.
On the Preston level crossing removal project, four level crossings will be removed while 2km of elevated rail and new stations for Bell and Preston will be built. The rail line in Preston will be raised over four roads on the Mernda line which will deliver open space beneath the 2km rail bridge. This will provide smoother and safer journeys for the 82,000 vehicles that pass through each day.
Xerox’s joint venture with the Victorian government will bring about a new technology that will monitor bridges such as the future bridge at Preston remotely, making it easier to maintain.
This technology is the result of trials performed by VicTrack and Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC), where sensors were developed to monitor the structural health of bridges. Following the success of these trials, the government will invest $50 million to roll out the new technology on priority bridges in Victoria through new commercial company, Eloque.
Eloque’s technology uses tiny fibre optic connected sensors attached to the bridge to measure and estimate factors of structural health such as thermal response, structural strain, bending, loads, vibration and corrosion. Data is then collected from the sensors and analysed, delivering information directly to the bridge owners and operators via an interactive dashboard in real time.
Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said any problems not visible to the naked eye or that may not show up in manual inspections will be detected prior to potential delays for motorists.
“This will help to detect problems earlier, reduce delays caused by road closures for manual inspections and repairs and help to find problems more quickly and accurately in the case of bridge strikes or other unexpected events,” Allan said.
It also makes maintenance more efficient and less time consuming, as budgets will be better prioritised and targeted to the bridges that need it most. Priority bridges include those that regularly deal with heavy loads and are at a higher risk of damage.
This technology has the potential to be utilised on any structure in need of maintenance such as roads, multi-storey cark parks, ports and tunnels.
“We’ll continue to look for ways to keep Victorians moving, that create local jobs and support our economic recovery,” Treasurer Tim Pallas said.