Our nation's bridges are growing old. Many of the nation's bridge spans have an average age of thirty-nine years. Bridge ratingsare declining quickly, threatening driving safety.
Rules for inspecting bridges are straightforward. Every bridge in the US needs to undergo an inspection every other year, yet bridge inspection teams are not proceeding as scheduled. This is mostly due to the extensive number of bridges, old and recent, in combination with heavily strained government roadwork budgets. Clearly, as more overpasses and bridges are erected the funding and professional inspectors required to maintain them likewise increases.
As the concern for new bridges increases is sorely needed, a bridge inspector needs to handle the inevitable repairs of our current bridges prior to looking at future bridge needs.
One of the most serious issues with bridge inspection is gaining access to the bridge in a safe manner. The bridge checkup equipment is designed to lift inspection personnel to difficult points of large bridges. Fortunately this is not the only capable truck equipment around.
Advances in bridge technology might be paving the way in the near future to make inspecting bridges safer, less costly and much more thorough than in the past.
Bridge spans that would not have been inspected before without dangerous road closings or costly personnel can now go through inspection in days instead of weeks. These new technologies allow inspection teams to inspect bridges while not harming environmental conditions or endangering nesting wildlife. As the cost of inspecting bridges comes down and technology is more prevalent, the nation's bridge structures can be repaired to hold up well into the future.
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