Throughout our time as surveyors, Landform Surveys have surveyed several bridges throughout the UK. Surveying bridges provide a unique challenge with part of the structure being above water and part of it being below. That being said, they are also one of the more exciting structures to survey, as they have many considerations to make before, during and after surveying.
Bridges can be modern or historical structures. Each come with their own set of opportunities and challenges. The use of the bridge may have changed over time or there may be more traffic, so it is important to make sure the bridge is still fit for purpose.
Like surveying other historical structures, it is important to preserve the data captured from a bridge survey for future use. This comparison can give insight into how fast the bridge is degrading and if the survey includes surrounding areas into how hydrodynamics affect the bridge.
As getting into the water is often an essential part of completing a bridge survey, it comes with additional health and safety risks. Surveys may need to be postponed if the water level rises, the flow of the river becomes too fast or if heavy rains make the river unstable.
As with all types of surveys, it is crucial to keep accurate records in case they need to be compared to future surveys. This helps to give an indication of the rate of change to the structure and will help in planning maintenance of the structure.
Bridges can affect the flow of rivers, so some surveys will be used to determine the hydrodynamics of the river. Flooding is becoming more and more of an issue and bridges and the surrounding areas need to be managed properly so limit their contributions to this. Surveys of bridges may also include the surrounding areas such as riverbeds, slopes and banks.
Damage to bridges can occur either above or below the water level, so a thorough survey is needed to determine all areas for potential repair. Surveying underwater requires different techniques than what is used for surveying the structure above the water. Bathymetric surveys use 3D sonar to get the get point cloud data to assemble a model.
Bridges are important functional structures that need regular attention and maintenance. If you are in need of a bridge survey, get in touch. Landform Surveys is looking forward to working with you.