July 06, 2021

Laser scanning saves lives. 

The Île-aux-Tourtes bridge that links Montreal with its western suburbs has approximately 80,000 passengers pass over it daily. Most of those commuters don’t give a second thought to the structure they are driving over, but even a supposedly mundane concrete bridge is much more complex than meets the eye. 

Embedded within each slab of concrete are hundreds of carefully engineered pieces of steel rebar that are integral to the structural integrity of the bridge. 

With time, every piece of concrete infrastructure needs repairs. When you don’t have accurate documentation of where that important rebar is located within your structure, you can easily make costly mistakes that interrupt traffic and even risk lives. 

Earlier this year, repair crews accidentally compromised the structural integrity of the busy Île-aux-tortes bridge, shutting off a critical artery into the city for multiple days. Without accurate documentation of where its rebar was located, crews who were attempting to reinforce the structure of the bridge actually critically weakened it, fracturing steel reinforcements and shutting down all traffic in both directions. Schools were closed, people missed important medical appointments, and countless hours were lost in diverted traffic, all because of a lack of documentation during initial construction and subsequent repairs. reports on the story as follows: 

“It is “very rare” for human error to be blamed for damage to critical infrastructure, said Lan Lin, a professor of engineering at Concordia University who has extensive practical experience in the design of buildings and bridges.

‘I believe for this situation we should feel kind of lucky somehow because no one has been injured,’ said Lin. Damaging load-bearing rods on the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge is a serious mistake, and closing the bridge for a careful investigation was the only option, she said. 

‘I believe it could have been avoided,’ said Lin. “ 

Laser scanning with the P50 from Leica Geosystems makes documenting rebar locations easy. You can gather data with pinpoint accuracy for generations to come, with just a few simple set ups. Even at a long range or at a complex angle, the P50 can measure and document your as-built steel reinforcement network. 

Concrete for compressive strength. 💪

Steel for tensile strength. 💪

Laser scanning for informational strength. 💪

Save a life. Scan a bridge. 🌉