The fatigue life of a bridge can be extended by fifty years just by reducing the peak strain levels it experiences by 33%. This paper utilizes a dynamic model of the Cedar Avenue tied arch steel bridge in Minnesota to investigate active control technologies for peak strain reduction. Simulations show that the use of passive structural modification devices such as stiffeners and dampers is inadequate to reduce the key resonant peaks in the frequency response of the bridge. Both active and semi-active vibration control strategies are then pursued. Active vibration control can effectively reduce all resonant peaks of interest, but is practically difficult to implement on a bridge due to power, size, and cost considerations. Semi-active control with a variable orifice damper in which the damping coefficient is changed in real-time using bridge vibration feedback can be practically implemented. Simulation results show that the proposed semi-active control system can reduce many of the resonant peaks of interest, but is unable to reduce the response at one key resonant frequency. Further analysis reveals that the location of the actuator on the bridge chosen for the semi-active controller is inappropriate for controlling the specific resonant frequency of issue. By modifying the actuator location, it would be possible to obtain control of all bridge resonant frequencies with the semi-active control system.

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