Data sensors installed on the Memorial Bridge in New Hampshire provide researchers, engineers and the public with insights into the day-to-day life and health of the bridge and its surrounding environment(Credit: Scott Ripley/University of New Hampshire).

The Memorial Bridge doesn’t just allow folks to cross over the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Kittery in Maine, it also serves as a living laboratory. Now home to a host of sensors, the so-called living bridge provides researchers, engineers and the general public with information about the day-to-day life and health of the bridge itself, as well as monitoring the surrounding environment.

“Building a new bridge can cost communities millions of dollars, so there is interest in exploring ways to get bridges to do more than just transport people and goods,” said principal investigator of the Living Bridge Project, Erin Bell.