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Miami River Adventure

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Scanning and measuring the Bascule Bridge on Miami River

bascule bridge river view
View of the Miami river from the bridge

SurvTech Solutions paves the way to another successfully executed job. During another excursion to Miami-Dade County, SurvTech Solutions’ Laser Scanning and Metrology department worked together to provide the latest as-built situations for a bascule bridge at the Miami River. This bridge was impacted while in the closed position (open for roadway traffic).

Poor Bridge Conditions Increase over Time

There are thousands of operational bridges with different designs in Florida. The focus of this task was a bascule bridge, first proposed by Chicago’s city engineers in 1902 and later spread to other states. The system relies on a horizontal steel pivot, called a trunnion that supports the entire weight of the bridge when it is in operation or in the open position. A massive counterweight, which balances the long and shorter ends, is attached at the heel.

According to a study by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, “of the 12,740 bridges in the state, 455 or 3.6 percent, are classified as structurally deficient. Meaning that one or more of the key elements is in poor or worse condition.” This number is rising for reasons such as traffic load, natural conditions, accidents, and time. When this study was published, the bridge in our scope of work was not listed as “a structurally deficient bridge in Florida.”

under bridge detail
Under the bridge

Barge Impact on Bridge Requires Dimensional Control Study

The bridge in question entered the deficiency list shortly after a barge impacted one of its sides. The impact caused a misalignment of the equipment that supports the bridge. SurvTech teams were called to action to conduct a dimensional control study and provide evidence of said misalignment.

open draw bridge of bascule bridge
The bascule bridge in the open position.

We conducted the Dimensional control services in two different stages. During the first stage, the team successfully detected and isolated the misalignment on the north side of the bridge. During this execution, the job was performed with the bridge under load. During the second stage, the counterweights were taken off, and the bridge was surveyed with no operational load. The last task while on site, capture the overall site conditions based on laser scanning technology. The entire area was surveyed, and the client was presented with digital evidence to reverse engineer the new equipment.

Survey Technology to Provide Better Data

SurvTech Solutions relies on different technologies from different departments that work together towards a common goal. Merging the latest technologies and best practices are a proven recipe for delivering value to every client’s project. This job was no exception; SurvTech identifies every challenge as an opportunity for a solution.

If you have a bridge or other project that needs accurate information, give SurvTech Solutions a call at 813-621-4929. We are ready to assist with all your surveying, metrology, and laser scanning needs.


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