At the end of 2020, the French State launched a request for proposals called “Connected Bridges” so as to bring about new methods and tools for providing maintenance for civil engineering structures. Monitoring and maintaining these structures is, of course, a major safety issue for all users. The latest innovations relating to connected objects, data processing and artificial intelligence offer a significant potential in addition to the traditional visual inspection methods.
39 applications were received and 17 winners were presented at Millau on Friday 23 April. Which is why Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, the Minister of State responsible for transport, was welcomed at the viaduct by Philippe Nourry, Head of Eiffage motorway concessions, and Emmanuel Cachot, Deputy CEO of the Compagnie Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau.
Amongst the winning teams, there was a project from the APRR group. Its aim is to detect corrosion in the braces and cables of bridges using standalone RFID (radio frequency identification) sensors. Once they are inserted into the encasement area and checked, the sensors can spot whether corrosion is starting by the presence of chloride ions.
The 17 projects accepted will be able to start over the next few months, with financing of €8m, half of which has been provided by the French State. They will be implemented with the support of Cerema, the recognised public State authority for assessing civil engineering structures, whose director general, Pascal Berteaud, was also present at Millau on Friday 23 April.
(c) Photo Camille Baduel