New Flagler Bridge gets smarter with built-in sensor technology

When the new Flagler Bridge in West Palm Beach is completed, it will be smarter than the average bridge.

The Florida Department of Transportation is including built-in sensors on the bridge to help keep tabs on its health and maintenance. It will be the first new bridge FDOT has built in Palm Beach and Broward counties with the “smart bridge” technology. But more are expected to come.

“We’re getting out feet wet on this smart bridge technology,” said Brian O’Donoghue, an FDOT interim structures maintenance engineer. “Right now, we’re in the infancy stages.”

The $94.2 million bridge will have a new monitoring system for the mechanical parts of the drawbridge, allowing maintenance crews to keep tabs on its condition remotely.

Pete Nissen of New Millennium Engineering Inc., which is overseeing the Flagler project for FDOT, compared it to the warning lights in cars that tell motorists when their vehicles are due for maintenance.

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