Our nation's bridges are getting older. Most of the nation's bridge spans average thirty-nine years old. Ratings for bridge qualityare at an all-time low, threatening public safety.
Bridge reviews are straightforward. Every bridge in the US should be inspected at least once every 2 years, but bridge inspection teams are not proceeding as scheduled.
While the concern for new bridges increases is sorely needed, bridge inspectors must contend with the inevitable repairs of our current bridge structures prior to looking at new bridge construction.
One of the biggest problems with inspecting bridges is gaining access to the bridge in a safe manner. This is generally accomplished using a variety of the snooper truck, designed to hoist inspectors to difficult points of complex bridge structures. But this isn't the only capable snooper equipment around.
Advances in bridge technology may be paving the way in the near future to make bridge inspection less hazardous, less costly and more convenient than in the past.
Bridges that could not have been inspected before without dangerous road closings or costly downtime can now be inspected in a matter of days. This new technology allows inspectors to access bridge structures while not disturbing environmental conditions or endangering nesting wildlife. As the expense of inspecting bridges is reduced and advanced equipment is more prevalent, the nation's bridge structures will get the repairs they need to hold up on into the future.
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