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Effective Implementation of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for Condition Assessment & Monitoring of Critical Infrastructure Components of Bridges and Highways

Principal Investigator(s) 

Scott, Michael (ADOJAM)

The objective of this study is to assist State Highway Administration (SHA) engineers, technicians, and decision makers in their current effort to explore the use of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) in assessing the condition of critical infrastructure components and to identify potential improvements in GPR data analysis. With regard to pavement structures, a new methodology is suggested to improve the accuracy of GPR data analysis. The initial analysis and results indicate that this new method, Multi-scale Pavement GPR data Analysis (MPGA), has the potential to add value and accuracy to pavement thickness data used in pavement management and rehabilitation analysis. For bridge deck evaluation, the need to capture moisture effects and detailed depth information are imperative.  The use of advanced GPR data analysis techniques such as migration imaging (for concrete cover depth measurement applications among others), Fourier analysis of GPR waveforms (for qualitative bridge deck moisture analysis) and emerging techniques such as Short Time Fourier Transform analysis (for anticipated quantitative moisture analysis) are suggested. Current quality control (QC) on precast concrete elements is based on plant inspections and periodic audits that have important limitations.  Specifically, current precast quality assurance practices include labor intensive activities and sporadic inspections with the potential to miss important problems. This study examines how GPR can be used to address several of the inspection applications needed in precast concrete production, including an evaluation of concrete cover depth, reinforcement location and section thickness.


GPR Pavement Thickness



GPR Pavement Thickness Evaluation using MPGA Analysis (US15)



Bridge Deck GPR Evaluation



Bridge Deck GPR Evaluation with Migration Analysis—Deterioration & Moisture Effects (Route 290)



GPR Data Analysis



GPR Data Analysis of a Precast Concrete Wall Panel: Integrated 2 to 3 Inch Depth

Note: Plan View Migrated Results (Hot/Red Color Map); Individual Alpha Numeric Scans (Gray Color Map)