California Department of Transportation
Coronado Bridge Carquinez Bridge San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge Richmond San Rafael Bridge

Materials Engineering and Testing Services

Office of Roadway Materials Testing
Instrumentation Services Branch

Photo Album

The photo album contains a sample of pictures from current and past instrumentation projects.  Click on the thumbnail of interest to see the full-size picture, then use your Web browser's Back button to return to this page.

Electronic Design and Consulting Services


Landslide Monitoring  (2012)

Instrumentation Services developed a simple landslide monitoring system at the Pitkins Curve brige and rock shed construction zone to alert motorists and construction crews of a imminent landslide. Draw-wire potentiometers are installed between two posts, one at the head scarp and one upslope on stable ground. The potentiometers are connected to indicator and alarm triggering boxes at the road below. Movement of the slide mass would trigger a flashing light and horn, alerting workers in the area.

Eric Climbing Up the Hill
Workers Next to Installed Sensor
Karim Installing Alarm Switching Box
Installed Light, Horn, and Solar Panel on Pole
Climbing Up the Hill
Installed Draw-Wire Potentiometer
Installing Alarm Switching Box
Installed Light, Horn, & Solar Panel on Signal Pole

Freeway Congestion Monitoring  (2005)

Instrumentation Services developed a GPS-based data collection system to collect speed and location data for congestion monitoring runs for the Division of Traffic Operations.  The system replaced a tachometer-based system.   

Computer diplay of traveled route
Computer display of speedometer
GPS antenna mounted to windsheild
Notebook PC setup in the vehicle
GPS Display
Speedometer Display
GPS Antenna
Notebook Setup

Vehicle Crash Testing Instrumentation  (ongoing)

The Instrumentation Services Branch instruments crash test vehicles in support of the Roadside Safety Technology section's crash testing program.  Two data acquisition units collect acceleration, angular rate, and impact speed data.  Instrumented vehicles also contain speed and remote braking controls.  Instrumentation designed and assembled the Instrumentation Interface and Speed Control boxes.

Crash test vehicle attached to guide rail
Crash test data recorders installed in the trunk
Vehicle riding along the barrier
Crash Test Vehicle
Crash Test Instrumentation
Vehicle Impacting Barrier

Carquinez Bridge GPS (2004 to present)

Instrumentation Services, working with the Division of Research & Innovation Geo Research Group and the Office of Earthquake Engineering, installed RTK-GPS receivers on the towers and cable sag point of the Al Zampa Memorial Bridge.  GPS receivers monitor bridge motion due to seismic events.

Base station antenna on the roof of the toll plaza office
Serial device server and cabinet on the roof
Tower cabinet mounted atop the bridge tower
Antenna mounted to the suspension sag point
Base Station Antenna
Serial Device Server Cabinet
Tower Cabinet
Installing Sag Point Antenna Bracket

Sump Level Monitoring (2003)

Instrumentation Services installed a demonstration sump water level monitoring system at the 12th Ave. pumping station on Highway 99 in Sacramento.  An ultrasonic level sensor detects water level.  A data logger sends data periodically via cellular telephone to a remote computer which processes the data and sends it to an FTP site for viewing.

12th ave. pump house
Engineers installing the level sensor inside the pump house
Data logger and phone in a cabinet
Computer display of the water level
12th Ave. Pump House
Installing Level Sensor
Data Logger & Phone
Water Level Plot

Bridge Scour Monitoring (1999 to present)

Remote terminal units have been installed on bridges to monitor bridge footing scour in river channels.  Various types of sensors monitor water stage, sediment removal, and bridge tilt.  This work is being done for the Structures Hydraulics Branch of the Office of Structures Design.  Currently, 14 bridges have been instrumented.

Data acquisition equipment and solar panel mounted on the side of a bridge
View of monitoring equipment and tilt sensors on the side of a bridge
Remote Terminal Unit
Four Bridge Tilt Sensors

Avalanche Controller Retrofit  (1998 to present)

A replacement controller unit comprised of a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) and a radio modem was designed and assembled by the Instrumentation Services Branch to remotely fire the GAZ-EX avalanche control exploders on Carson Spur and Carson Pass on SR 88 in District 10.

Carson spur exploder A1
Controller unit with battery in an enclosure on the side of a shelter
Carson pass shelter E with rhime ice
Carson Spur Exploder A1
Controller Unit
Carson Pass Shelter E

In 2004, replacement controllers were installed in three shelters at June Lake on SR 158 in District 9.

Installing wiring in the shelter
June Lake exploder B1
Controller unit with battery in an enclosure on the side of the shelter

Working on the Shelter

June Lake Exploder B1

June Lake Shelter A

In 2006, replacement controllers were installed in three shelters at Echo Summit on SR 50 in District 3.

Controller unit with battery in an enclosure on the side of the shelter
Hiking to shelter B during a snow storm
Shelter B buried in snow
Troubleshooting controls during a snow storm
Shelter C Installation
Hike to Shelter B
Shelter B Buried in Snow
Troubleshooting Electronics

In 2008, controllers were installed in two new shelters on Lee Vining Hill adjacent to SR 395 in District 9.

View of Mono Lake
Avalanche Shelter on Lee Vining Hill
Avalanche Controller on Lee Vining Hill
View of Mono Lake
Avalanche Shelter
Avalanche Controller