Research at the University of Missouri-Columbia aims to improve the structural safety of bridges. A new high-tech system is getting a 6-month test run on a bridge in New York. Research assistant Gary Washer says the system could be available within a year and a half. The system is meant to monitor tilting and cracking in the piers, or the support structure, of a bridge. Washer says about 20 tilt sensors are placed along the pier at different elevations up the height of the piers and along the superstructure of a bridge. He says the sensors monitor tilt in three-dimensions. Washer says the system would be asset for Missouri and points out that a Better Roads article published last November rates 31% of Missouri bridges as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The National Academy of Sciences gave MU’s College of Engineering a $110,000 grant to fund the research.