Our nation's bridges are getting old. Most of our bridges have an average age of 39 years. Bridge ratingsare declining quickly, threatening driving safety.
A bridge inspection is clear. Each bridge structure in the US needs to be inspected at least once every 2 years, but bridge inspections are falling behind.
As the concern for new bridges increases is sorely needed, bridge inspectors need to handle the inevitable repairs of our existing bridge structures before looking at future bridge needs.
Among the biggest issues with inspecting bridges is gaining access to bridge structures safely. The bridge inspection equipment or the snooper truck is designed to hoist inspection crews to hard to reach areas of complex bridges. Fortunately the snooper truck is not the only capable equipment truck around.
Advances in bridge technology might be paving the way in coming years to make inspecting bridges safer, cheaper and much more thorough than in the past.
Bridge structures that would not have been accessed in the past except by using dangerous lane closures or expensive personnel will now be inspected in days instead of weeks. This new technology permits inspectors to inspect bridge structures without disturbing the environment or putting wildlife in danger. As the expense of bridge inspections come down while technology is more prevalent, the nation's bridge structures can be repaired to hold up on into the future.