Five Important Parts of Properly Repairing a Bridge
Bridges are generally built very strong and sturdy. However, problems can occur that damage the structure and make transportation over the bridge unsafe. There are many factors to consider when it comes to repairing a bridge. In many cases, the bridge will have to be entirely closed until all repairs are completed. This ensures that the bridge is safe and secure for all passengers.
Immediate closure of the bridge
The first step after bridge damage is an immediate closure of the bridge. Even if the bridge does not appear to have suffered any major damage, it will need to be inspected. If the integrity of the bridge was damaged, it could slowly wear on the overall structure. Closing down a bridge is common after a large accident occurs on the bridge or after high winds, such as a hurricane or tornado. If possible, a temporary bridge rental may be used for handling traffic needs.
Full inspection of all aspects of the bridge
Following the closure, immediate inspections will occur on every part of the bridge. A technical engineer will begin inspecting the bridge, even before construction workers are brought in. it is best to fully understand the problem, before planning a repair. If temporary bridge rentals are needed, these will also be brought in at the same time. Some cities require bridge use to get from one island or area to another and temporary bridge rentals can solve that problem.
Create access road construction
Depending on the type of damage suffered to the bridge, access road construction may also be needed. For construction workers to complete repairs on the bridge, they need a way to get to the bridge. This method of travel needs to be safe and secure. While a temporary bridge rental may get them from one location to the next, it does not necessarily get them close to the bridge. Railway bridges, however, might be an access point option. The city or state might also choose to rent a temporary bridge to gain access to the new bridge for repairs.
Another full inspection
After the repairs are complete, which could take weeks, months, or even years, another full inspection is completed. This inspection assesses the repairs and checks the safety of the bridge for normal transportation. Over two hundred million trips are taken daily across deficient bridges in the nation?s 102 largest metropolitan regions. The inspection process itself may take many tests, to ensure the repairs will hold up for large amounts of foot and vehicle traffic. If the bridge holds even heavier of transportation, such as railroad bridges, it might require even more extensive of inspections.
Regular inspection of the bridge
After a bridge suffers severe damage, it will continue to be inspected for years to come. In total, one in nine of the nation?s bridges is rated as structurally deficient, while the average age of the nation?s 607,380 bridges is currently 42 years. When a bridge suffers major damage, it is more likely to be ruled as deficient. It is sometimes recommended that the bridge is replaced, rather than repaired, but this is not always an option due to financial situations.
Bridges are an important part of travel across many U.S. areas. When a bridge suffers damage from high winds or auto accidents, the structure of the bridge can present a problem. When the integrity of a bridge is in question, it will need to be closed down and repaired. It should not be reopened again until all repairs are made and inspections are passed. Currently, the U.S. has a large bridge problem. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that to eliminate the nation?s bridge deficient backlog by 2028, we would need to invest $20.5 billion annually, while only $12.8 billion is being spent currently. With fully repairing or replacing bridges as damages occur, we can only hope to begin to improve the countries bridge deficiencies.