America’s infrastructure is crumbling, which should be a concern to everyone, especially to civil engineers. Many people are surprised to learn around 40% of all bridges in the United States are at least fifty years old.
When it comes to bridge maintenance, there is a difference between prevention and preservation. It is important bridges are maintained properly so they do not become a danger to society.
What Is the Biggest Hurdle Facing Bridge Maintenance?
For those who work in bridge maintenance, one of the biggest hurdles they must overcome is being reactive instead of proactive. When it comes to Panel Formwork and other integral components of a bridge’s construction, it is imperative damage is prevented rather than only being repaired when it happens.
Being reactive is never an effective approach to bridge maintenance. Instead, crews need to be prepared by planning ahead.
Preventative Vs. Preservative Approaches to Bridge Maintenance
Bridge preservation involves taking actions that help to reduce, delay, or even prevent deterioration to bridge sections. These crews work on bridges and restore their condition to good working order so the life of the bridges can be extended for as long as possible.
It is important to realize preservation is more of a reactive approach to bridge maintenance. On the other hand, it is better to work on bridges while they are still in sound condition. Maintaining them before serious damages occur can help delay or even prevent costly damage.
Preventative Maintenance Should Involve the Following
Bridge maintenance crews need to adopt a proactive strategy for maintaining bridges properly. Changing the way budget dollars are used over time can help to ensure these practices are taken care of swiftly.
- Deck joints should be removed or all leaking joints should be replaced or sealed.
- It is important to seal the deck overlays.
- Crews should install cathodic protection systems.
- Crews should also protect against corrosion by using electrochemical chloride extraction.
- It is important to repair any areas of damaged concrete.
- If there are any areas that experience a great deal of wear and tear, these should be painted frequently.
- All steel components of the bridge should be coated and painted regularly.
- Repairing and replacing areas that are prone to fatigue is essential.
- Scour prevention measures should be put in place right away.
- Trash and debris may contain chemicals that could degrade the bridge, and these should be removed often.
- It is imperative protective measures, like jackets and utility infrastructure protections, are put into place.
- Finally, all components of the bridge must be washed regularly.
Knowledge and Equipment Are Essential
Bridge managers must be concerned about the tools and equipment that are available to their crews. Taking a proactive stance on bridge maintenance involves having access to the right equipment.
It is also important managers hire skilled maintenance crew members who are highly knowledgeable. With the right knowledge and equipment, bridge managers will not have to worry about degrading bridges because they will have everything they need for taking a proactive approach.
Bridge maintenance is essential for ensuring bridges remain in sound shape and are not degrading. Performing maintenance work, well before major damages occur, will help to prevent costly issues in the future. By following the above tips, bridge managers will be better equipped to stay on top of the needful bridge maintenance that will keep their bridges safer.
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