LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT, MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT FOR SAFE LARGE-SCALE INFRASTRUCTURES: CHALLENGES AND NEEDS
Many European infrastructures dating back to ’50 and ’60 of the last century like bridges and viaducts are approaching the end of their design lifetime. In most European countries costs related to maintenance of infrastructures reach a quite high percentage of the construction budget and additional costs in terms of traffic delay are due to downtime related to the inspection and maintenance interventions. In the last 30 years, the rate of deterioration of these infrastructures has increased due to increased traffic loads, climate change related events and man-made hazards. A sustainable approach to infrastructures management over their lifecycle plays a key role in reducing the impact of mobility on safety (over 50 000 fatalities in EU per year) and the impact of greenhouse gases emission related to fossil fuels. The events related to the recent collapse of the Morandi bridge in Italy tragically highlighted the sheer need to improve resilience of aging transport infrastructures, in order to increase the safety for people and goods and to reduce losses of functionality and the related consequences. In this focus Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is one of the key strategies with a great potential to provide a new approach to performance assessment and maintenance over the life cycle for an efficient, safe, resilient and sustainable management of the infrastructures. In this paper research efforts, needs and challenges in terms of performance monitoring, assessment and standardization are described and discussed.