The New Year is always a time of reflection and self-improvement, but it’s also a great time to consider public sector improvements that are long overdue. Recently, much attention has been drawn to the declining infrastructure in the U.S. From roads and bridges, to pipes and other vital structures, the whole country is in a general state of disrepair.
According to a USA Today article, “Six states have 30% or more of their major rural roads with pavement in poor condition, and in five states, at least one-fifth of rural bridges are structurally deficient.” In particular, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in rural areas, with a quarter of them falling into this category. In the article, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation clarifies by stating that the bridges are not unsafe, but they will require significant repair and/or eventual replacement to meet recommended standards.
An article in The Week further examines the true costs associated with infrastructures that were not upgraded and cited numerous structural failures that resulted in avoidable fatalities. According to the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) most recent U.S. infrastructure report card, the country received a D+ overall; and with many pipelines and roadways nearing a century in age, this grade is no surprise.
But with increased attention drawn to this issue, it’s likely that improvements will start to be made. Roads and bridges are used on a daily basis, so it’s imperative to repair known problems and regularly inspect and maintain functional structures. Some structures are harder to examine than others, but there is equipment available to ensure that all sites are accessible to crews.
For example, American Crane’s bridge travelers are movable platforms that provide safe access to the underside of bridges for inspection and maintenance. These bridge travelers are crucial in providing a safe and effective work environment in an otherwise difficult to navigate location. There are self-propelled gas, diesel and electric powered travelers available to suit all needs.
Currently, American Crane travelers are being used on the Queensborough, Mid-Hudson and Thousand Island bridges in New York, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State, and the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan. Our project for the Mackinac Bridge included eight of the most sophisticated travelers in the Western Hemisphere, and featured telescopic platform extensions.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss the applications of ACECO bridge traveler technology for your bridge project. Together we can improve America’s failing infrastructures.