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Fri August 23 2019

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James Fisher to monitor Tamar Bridge

19 Jul Structural monitoring specialist James Fisher Testing Services (JFTS) has been awarded an eight-year contract to monitor the Tamar Bridge in Plymouth.

The James Fisher system will provide real-time monitoring of the entire bridge structure
The James Fisher system will provide real-time monitoring of the entire bridge structure

The company will use a new structural health monitoring system called BridgeWatch which is based upon its smart asset management (SAMS) software package.

A network of sensors including weather stations, displacement sensors, temperature sensors and robotic total stations will be connected via fibre-optic cables. Data will be collected through a series of data acquisition units which will offer secure, real-time monitoring of the entire structure.

The Tamar Bridge is the responsibility of Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council, who jointly awarded the monitoring contract to JFTS to help extend the operational life of the structure. 

Richard Cole, engineering manager for the councils’ Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee said: “We’re looking forward to working with JFTS to deliver this important structural health monitoring project for Tamar Bridge. New weather stations will provide essential information to help our operations team deliver a safe and reliable service to bridge users and the data obtained from the structural monitoring sensors will provide an essential record of bridge performance that will support our robust inspection and maintenance regime, both now and into the future.”

In the long term, the system will monitor key bridge components, including rocker bearings, expansion joints and main cable anchorages. As data is accumulated over time, the system will develop a detailed picture of the bridge’s performance under a variety of conditions and will be used to optimise inspection and maintenance strategies.

Matthew Anderson, head of bridges and structures at JFTS, said: “The system will allow the team to monitor the effect of varying traffic loads, an important factor for the Tamar Bridge since it was upgraded to tolerate heavier traffic in the late ‘90s. The insights gathered here will allow the joint authorities to extend the bridge’s operational life for many years to come.”

The system is expected to go live in the autumn. Once operational, JFTS will continue to host client data for an initial period of eight years, using UK-based servers on a secure, cloud-based interface.

Jackson homes in on highways

Jackson Civil Engineering has set up a highways division in a bid to win more work in the sector nationwide.

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Jackson, which began life as Roadworks 1952, has done a lot of motorway work in the south-east of England over the past 20 years and now wants to build on this experience.

Paul Watson, Jackson’s M25 framework director, has been appointed highways director to lead the new division.

He said: “Through our recent highways experience we’ve laid the foundations of a highly skilled team to go and deliver work across the rest of the strategic road network. Highways England’s delivery plan details the need, and their expectation, for SMEs like Jackson to work in a more collaborative and integrated way, which is a really great fit for our business, and our people.”

Managing director Brian Crofton added: “As a company, Jackson began its journey as Roadworks 1952 Ltd, so today it gives me great pride to be able to establish a new highways division within the business. With Paul Watson heading up the division, I know we will continue to grow our influence in this sector and become a key supply partner to Highways England delivering against their values and targets.”

Ipswich-based Jackson Civil Engineering employs around 300 staff and turned over £96m in 2017. It is the largest part of One Group Construction, which also includes SEH French, Emmitt Plant, SEH Ipswich Civil Engineering and SEH Asphalt.

Highways director Paul Watson (left) and managing director Brian Crofton on site at the Woodford Viaduct bearing replacement project in London
Highways director Paul Watson (left) and managing director Brian Crofton on site at the Woodford Viaduct bearing replacement project in London

This article was first published in the July/August 2019 issue of The Construction Index magazine (magazine published online, 25th of each month.) 

UK readers can have their own copy of the magazine, in real paper, posted through their letterbox each month by taking out an annual subscription for just £50 a year. Click for details.

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