Photo of Demo Initiative Application - Fae Azhari

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Scour Monitoring of an Overwater Bridge in Manitoba Using Dissolved Oxygen (DO) ProbesSafe & Sustainable Infrastructure

Scour—or the erosion of supporting sediments near bridge piers and abutments—accounts for the majority of overwater bridge failures around the world. The 2013 failure of the Bonnybrook Bridge in Alberta, Canada and the devastating collapse in 2016 of the Savitri River Bridge in India are just two recent examples of scour-induced failures. A novel scour sensor was developed whereby an array of miniature dissolved oxygen (DO) probes detect scour depths.

This demonstration project will deploy a large-scale prototype of the sensor on a scour-prone bridge in Manitoba, Canada. The sensor consists of a number of DO probes housed inside a steel pipe at equal vertical spacing. The project team will drive the sensor into the streambed close to the bridge pier. While buried, the probes detect minimal DO levels. Scour exposes the probes to flowing water, causing a significant rise in the detected DO. We will also periodically inspect the streambed to validate the applicability of the sensor in continuous real-time scour monitoring. We expect a successful demonstration of an innovative technology through a strong partnership with the industry and bridge maintenance authorities, paving the way for commercialization in Canada, India, and other countries with scour-susceptible bridges.

Project Team

Dr. Fae Azhari, University of Toronto
Farooq Mohammed, University of British Columbia


Intelligent Structures Canada, Inc.
Manitoba Infrastructure