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Queensferry Crossing , Edinburgh

How do you use technology to better manage a major new road bridge?

A healthy bridge means smoother traffic 

‘Like painting the Forth Bridge’ is a phrase that refers to any routine task that seems never ending. The iconic landmark was famous for the challenges of its maintenance regime.

But the new Forth bridge in Scotland, the Queensferry Crossing, presents a very different picture. Instead of simply routine maintenance, it will benefit from advanced health monitoring to make any interventions much more targeted.

The result will be smoother running of traffic on this critical piece of infrastructure.

Project Summary


2.7 km structure

22 kmlong scheme

Landscape view of Queensferry crossing. Credit: Arup. Landscape view of Queensferry crossing. Credit: Arup.

A system to spot problems before they happen

Arup has built on its experience in other road bridges around the wold, particularly the Stonecutters Bridge in Hong Kong, to devise a monitoring and safety evaluation system that is designed to spot potential problems before they happen.

About two thousand sensors have been installed on the Queensferry Crossing, carefully positioned to monitor the global behaviour of the bridge and its environment in real time. All data will be stored on the cloud to allow data analytics and the identification of trends in behaviour. This will allow the operator to respond quickly to extreme events, to target inspections and to carry out pre-emptive interventions to avoid potential failures.

An event-driven system

The sensors make up a system that monitors the wind, the weather, temperature, corrosion, motion and any strains on the bridge. So, if there has been an 80 MPH wind overnight, the system will raise the alarm and calculate where the likely impact will have been and so what needs to be checked. That provides immediate support to the inspectors, as well as long term data that can be analysed and so ensure better investment decisions are made.


This is the future of roads and bridge maintenance – combining Internet of Things technology and cloud based data analytics to predict problems before they happen. We’ve developed really advanced versions of this in Hong Kong and Scotland, and we’re increasingly deploying this technology all over the world. ” Tony Marshall Tony Marshall Director, Global Leader of Highways