Our nation's bridges are growing older. Most of our bridges have an average age of 39 years. Ratings for bridge safetyare at an all-time low, a big threat to public safety.
The national bridge inspection standards are clear. Every bridge in the United States should be inspected every other year, yet bridge inspections are falling behind.
As the need for new bridges increases is sorely needed, a bridge inspector needs to contend with the eventual repairs of our existing bridges prior to looking at new bridge construction.
One of the most serious problems with inspecting bridges is gaining access to the bridge safely. This is typically done using a variety of bridge checkup apparatus and the snooper truck, created to hoist inspection personnel to difficult points of large bridges. Fortunately the snooper truck is not the only viable truck truck around.
Advances in bridge technology may help close the gap in the near future making bridge inspection safer, less costly and more convenient than ever before.
Bridge spans that could not have been inspected before except by using dangerous road closures or costly downtime can now go through inspection in days instead of weeks. These new technologies permit inspectors to access bridge structures without disturbing the environment or putting wildlife in danger. As the cost of inspecting bridges comes down while technology becomes easier to find, the nation's bridges can be repaired to hold up on into the next century.
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