BRIDGES HAVE A LOT TO SAY,
to those who
know how to listen. Luckily for those who travel
across New York state’s 17,000 bridges, Kerop
Janoyan is a very good listener.
Janoyan, a professor of civil & environmental
engineering at Clarkson, has developed a system
that allows for the remote monitoring of bridges
through a dense network of wireless sensors.
His work promises to improve the way state and
county departments of transportation track and
monitor bridges across New York as well as the
rest of the country.
The U.S. got a screaming wake-up call in 2007
with the catastrophic bridge collapse in Minneapolis.
At the time, it was reported that one-fourth of the
nation’s 600,000 bridges are either structurally or
The need to better evaluate structural integrity
hit home in New York, where the bridge connecting
Crown Point and Addison, Vt., was abruptly closed
and demolished in 2009 when it was deemed
unsafe. It took two years to rebuild.
The way it works now, the New York State
Department of Transportation sends out about 65
teams to conduct biennial and interim inspections
on 9,500 DOT and municipal bridges. A bridge
inspector must evaluate, assign a condition score and
document the conditions of up to 47 bridge elements.
Compare that to Janoyan’ s wireless sensors,
where microchips take readings 128 times a
second, measuring vibration, strain, temperature
and humidity, all of which can cause deterioration.
This information can enhance public safety, guide
decisions on the best use of maintenance funds and
help smooth out budgets,” Janoyan says.
Back in 2007, Janoyan and his research team
first fitted a 360-foot bridge on Route 56 over the
Raquette River in Colton, N.Y., with a network
of sensors to measure movement, strain and
temperature. This work garnered national and
Everything is instrumented these days,” says Janoyan.
Educating Career-Ready Professionals
Clarkson’s Construction Engineering Management Program Expands
Clarkson and AECOM Technology Corporation are expanding their academic alliance with
a $60,000 commitment by AECOM in support of the University’s Construction Engineering
Management (CEM) program.
CEM is an innovative program that addresses the design, planning, construction and
management of infrastructures such as highways, bridges, airports, buildings, pipelines and
utilities. CEM students learn both the design aspects and construction project management
functions, making them proficient in skills traditionally practiced by both civil engineers and
As part of the expansion, Clarkson is establishing a CEM Advisory Board consisting of
industry partners. The Advisory Board will provide an opportunity for interaction between industry
peers and Clarkson administration/faculty to ensure an industry-relevant education for Clarkson
students. AECOM will serve as an inaugural member of the advisory board.
AECOM is looking forward to working with Clarkson University to further develop their
Construction Engineering Management program,” says Joe Pulicare ’78, executive vice president,
North America Transportation for AECOM. “It’s a win-win situation whereby Clarkson gets industry
expert advice and AECOM can be assured that Clarkson grads are up on the latest industry needs.”
AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad
range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government.
Thanks to Kerop Janoyan’s
sensor research, New York could
be among the first states in the
nation to have 24/7 wireless
international attention, including a feature in
The New York Times
This past spring, Clarkson and the Ogdensburg
Bridge and Port Authority signed an agreement
to collaborate on research and the development
of technologies for bridge monitoring and sensor
data fusion at the 1.5-mile Ogdensburg-Prescott
When this agreement is put into action,
New York may be on its way to be the first state in the
nation with comprehensive 24/7 wireless monitoring
of its bridges. It’s about time, says Janoyan.
Everything is instrumented these days,” he
points out. “Buy any item anywhere and the tag will
tell where it has been, how long it was on the shelf,
etc., yet we have a huge amount of infrastructure
that’s not instrumented at all.”
Janoyan, who earned his Ph.D. at UCLA and
is a registered Professional Engineer in California,
has researched bridge engineering and sensor
development for infrastructure - nationally
and internationally. He was elected By-Fellow of
Churchill College at Cambridge University where
he spent his sabbatical stay in 2009.
Janoyan also has an extensive history
of participating in various academic and
joint industrial projects tailored toward
the application of advanced sensing and
diagnostics approaches for energy, industrial
and environmental systems as well. State
and federal and industrial sources, including
the NYS Energy Research and Development
Authority and the NYS Department of
Transportation, are funding the sensor
By Connie Jenkins
F O R T I F Y I N G I N F R A S T R U C T U R E