Taiwanese earthquake engineers have created a bridge management system utilizing metadata, a National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) researcher said yesterday, calling on transportation agencies to consult their data to monitor the “health” of the nation’s bridges.
Based on the “Lloyd’s City Risk Index 2015-2025” released by the University of Cambridge, natural disasters would cost Taiwan US$181.2 billion during that period, said Sung Yu-chi (宋裕祺), division head at NARL National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering and a civil engineering professor at National Taipei University of Technology.
To boost the nation’s disaster prevention measures, the center spent nearly eight years developing the new system, would compile information about the “life cycles” of the nation’s 27,973 bridges, Sung said.
The system can manage photographs uploaded by engineers inspecting bridges, with each image containing information about a bridge’s degradation conditions, he said.
Asked if all necessary data has been collected, Sung said it takes time to survey all the nation’s bridges, but added that the center can refer to data on about 8,000 bridges collected by the CECI Engineering Consultants, which last month signed a memorandum of understanding with the center.
Of the 8,000 bridges, the center has sampled 324, mostly in the north, Sung said, adding that 23 of them were classified as A-level, meaning they might sustain damage and should be reinforced immediately, while refusing media request to name the bridges.
The center has informed transportation agencies to maintain the bridges, Sung added.
It hopes to boost the system’s content and expand its application, but that depends on the government agencies responsible for bridge management, he said, adding that some agencies had asked them not to cause extra trouble by surveying certain bridges.
The Taipei and New Taipei City governments are more active in maintaining old bridges, as they allocate at least NT$50 million (US$1.7 million at the current exchange rate) each year for maintenance, CECI chief engineer Lin Yew-tsang (林曜滄) said.
While the government plans to inspect bridges every two or four years, engineers conducting the inspections have different professional levels, which leads to occasional inaccuracies in data, Lin said.
The system can greatly reduce human error and might be the world’s best system for bridge management, he said, adding that some Japanese engineers have admired the system.
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