Using satellites to monitor Severn Bridge structure, UK

Gethin W. Roberts, Christopher J. Brown, Xu Tang, Oluropo Ogundipe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The Severn Bridge is a large UK suspension bridge. In 2010, a series of field surveys was commissioned to monitor the magnitude and frequencies of the bridge’s movements, through attaching nine dual-frequency survey grade global navigation satellite system receivers on the bridge and two reference satellite receivers adjacent to the structure. The satellite antenna locations and configuration allow the movements of the north cable to be analysed at four locations, as well as the differential movements of the two suspension cables to each other. In addition, this configuration allows the movements of the tops of the towers to be compared to the cables’ movements, as well as with each other. All in all, this allowed the relative movements of the various locations on the bridge’s suspension cables and tower tops to be compared to each other, at a rate of up to 20 Hz. Overall, some 3 days of raw code and carrier phase satellite data were gathered. During these sessions, normal traffic loading was experienced. This paper describes the survey, presents a selection of the key results and draws conclusions about the effective use of satellite positioning systems to enhance structural health monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-339
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the ICE - Bridge Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • bridges
  • monitoring
  • research and development
  • field testing


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