Our nation's bridges are growing old. Many of our bridge spans have an average age of thirty-nine years. Bridge ratingsare declining quickly, a big threat to driving safety.
Inspecting bridges is straightforward. Every bridge in the US needs to undergo an inspection at least once every 2 years, but bridge inspection teams are falling behind.
As the need for new new bridge design is sorely needed, bridge inspectors must contend with the inevitable repairs of our existing bridge structures first.
One of the most serious problems with bridge checkup is gaining access to bridge structures safely. This is generally accomplished using a variety of bridge inspection equipment and the snooper truck, created to lift inspectors to difficult points of complex bridge structures. But the snooper truck isn't the only viable equipment truck available.
Advances in bridge inspection technologies might be paving the way in coming years to make bridge inspection safer, cheaper and much more thorough than in the past.
Bridge spans that could never be accessed in the past without dangerous road closings or costly personnel will now go through inspection in a matter of days. These new technologies allow inspectors to inspect bridge structures without disturbing environmental conditions or endangering nesting wildlife. As the cost of inspecting bridges is reduced and technology becomes easier to access, the nation's bridge structures will get the repairs they need to handle traffic on into the next century.