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Our vision is to be the Institute of Choice for Highway Engineers. Our mission is to provide professional development opportunities, support and leadership for individuals to achieve and maintain professional recognition.

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National Highways launches Structures Moonshot competition

  • Monday July 10, 2023

National Highways is looking to revolutionise the way they take care of bridges and other structures by hunting out new and innovative ways that will spot potential defects sooner. They want to find solutions that can detect defects sooner and resolve the issues in a less disruptive and a non-destructive way and so they have launched a competition as part of the project to find new innovations and technology.

Research has begun to help on the ambitious journey towards self-monitoring and self-maintaining bridges with cutting-edge technology and modern methods being sought out for testing. One of the greatest threats to bridges and structures on our road network is the corrosion of steel elements which are often encased in concrete.

This research project, Structures Moonshot, is focusing on two specific features in particular, the steel tendons in post-tensioned structures and reinforcement within concrete half-joints – a ‘shelf’ constructed at the end of one span to support the adjacent span.

These features can be vulnerable to deterioration but are difficult to access and often require intrusive investigations to assess the condition. This can require lane or road closures causing disruption for motorists.

The project is being taken forward by Atkins-Jacobs Joint Venture (AJJV) which will carry out extensive testing and research to identify the most suitable technologies for conducting advanced forms of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) on structures.

New ideas are being sought which may include experimenting with machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect critical hidden structural defects. Solutions could range from advanced sensors, imaging technologies and machine learning algorithms. 

What is on offer for the successful entrants

Successful entrants will be given a rare opportunity to carry out some real-world testing of their products on sample bridge sections taken from the decommissioned A14 Huntingdon Railway Viaduct. This will provide a platform to showcase their products to us and the wider industry before the sample is demolished which will allow participants to validate their results.

The outcomes of the testing will enable participants to optimise the effectiveness and applicability of their solutions. The results will also be published to enable collaboration and shared learning across the construction industry. 

How to register

Organisations interested in trialling emerging technology and innovations should submit their entries via this entry form by 31 July 2023. 

Testing will take place in August.

If you have any enquiries or would like to learn more about the project, please contact  moonshot.comms@atkinsglobal.com

Find out more at https://nationalhighways.co.uk/article/hunt-is-on-to-find-pioneering-new-ways-to-take-care-of-national-highways-bridges/

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