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The bridge's 'smart technology'

The following is a snippet from the Bridge article in the bookmarks – just wanted to make sure you saw it.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: At the core of each column was placed a steel skeleton, the concrete around it serving as a skin.

TOM DEHAVEN: We have thousands and thousands of miles, like, 7,500 miles of high-strength cables in it, as well. That steel actually holds up the bridge, and the concrete protects it. So it's like the skin on your body is the concrete, but the thing that really holds it up is the bones inside, the steel.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: And just under the skin is embedded a kind of fiber-optic nervous system.

DAN SJOGREN, Construction Worker: I'm installing a telerock maturity meter. It monitors the temperature and strength gain of the concrete based on a time-temperature scale. I put this in the pourage. It's one of the ways we manage the concrete as it cures.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In all, about 320 sensors will monitor every aspect of the bridge's operation, how the loads are borne and distributed, and whether corrosive de-icing chemicals used in the winter are seeping in.

Kevin Gutknecht is a spokesman for Minnesota's Transportation Department.

KEVIN GUTKNECHT, Minnesota Department of Transportation: We call it smart bridge technology. They tell us how much the bridge might move, how much the bridge expands and contracts. There's also a microphone inside that will tell us if there's any strange sounds inside the bridge.

All of this is designed to help us monitor the health of this bridge, as well as the University of Minnesota and a university out of Florida are monitoring this data, as well, and they're teaching young engineers, so it will help us design bridges in the future.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
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