Kavita and Lalit Bahl fund smart bridge
The Kavita and Lalit Bahl Smart Bridge was made possible with a generous gift from the Bahls, long-time supporters to the University and friends of the department. Additional opportunities still exist to sponsor the various collaboration areas along the bridge and at its entrance on the Newmark Lab side.
The bridge will be a highlight of the new construction and a new campus landmark, so the public areas along the bridge will likely be very popular areas for students to gather. A mixture of lounge seating and tables will dot the bridge deck, and windows on both sides will offer a unique view of the engineering quad to the west and the campus to the east.
The bridge will be a living laboratory featuring the latest innovations in infrastructure sensing, a showcase for sustainable energy and environmental design options, and an instructional tool to teach about the effects of dynamic forces on the built environment.
Ideas for instrumenting the bridge and adjacent portions of the new building include strain gauges; accelerometers; inclinometers; pressure sensors; fiber optic cables; and environmental sensors for relative humidity, temperature and wind. In addition to this monitoring of the bridge structure and its foundation, the committee is also looking into instrumenting the indoor areas of the bridge and adjacent spaces with respect to sensing for occupancy, energy consumption, ventilation and indoor air quality; monitoring pedestrian traffic flow; and perhaps even developing the street beneath the bridge as an autonomous transit testbed. Data from all the sensors will be displayed on the bridge, also contributing to the popularity of the space.
The department hopes to establish an endowment fund to support future updates to the bridge instrumentation, so that its technology will always represent the latest innovations in infrastructure sensing.