A bridge inspection data management system from France is debuting in the U.S. on an 8,000-ft, segmental, four-lane, dual-span bridge in Michigan. The engineers are giving it two thumbs up.

(Photo courtesy of Parsons Bridge and Tunnel Division)

The product being used by the Tallahassee, Fla-based Parsons Bridge and Tunnel Division of Parsons Corp., Pasadena, Calif., is called ScanPrint. It comes from the Columbia, Md., U.S. subsidiary of Advitam SAS.

The Parsons unit now is preparing a report on data gathered last August on the Zilwaukee Bridge, a 1988 structure over the Saginaw River, near Saginaw, Mich.

Bridge inspections required every four years have generated miles of paper records that must be referenced each time a new inspection is done.

But this time, instead of taking volumes of documents to the field, inspectors downloaded pertinent records, as-built plans and report forms for each day's job list onto pen-tablet computers so they could work electronically.

"What makes it so dynamic is the ability to bring all that data out in the field and put exactly what you inspecting in there," says Michael Johnson, director of business development for the Parsons division. "You can put in the last inspection report and the construction documents, and then comment and take pictures and upload it all into one database at the design center, which can be anywhere."

Conditions needing immediate attention can be addressed as soon as the data is filed. But the complete database also can be used as a lifecycle tool to define repairs and maintenance and enable cost calculation, scheduling and budgeting for facility management.

"It is certainly more than a trend," says Johnson. "This is the way all inspection is going to go. Hats off to Michigan for seeing the light."