What Can We Do About America’s Failing Bridges And Roads?

Shoring excavation

Bridges carry us throughout the world. In fact, it can be very easy to take them for granted. This is precisely the mentality that has led to so many bridges being considered in a state of active disrepair in the United States, with the years showing wear and tear that could very well put everyday people to safety. With the Federal Highway Administration estimating a $20 billion yearly budget to properly address the nation’s bridge deficient backlog, it’s time to get to work. A fast installation bridge is a useful way of providing a safe means of travel while properly repairing the thousands of structures that people need to live their lives.

The state of these bridges is no mystery. Any object used over a long period of time is bound to start showing some signs of disrepair, with bridges being used nearly as commonly as our everyday streets — it’s estimated over two million trips are taken across deficient bridges on a daily basis. A weak bridge is a bridge that threatens to collapse, that of which could see people badly hurt and entire routes cut off until a replacement is installed. Rather than waiting multiple companies are going out of their way to perfect the fast installation bridge.

Creating a portable bridge is a process that requires a very close eye on multiple elements to ensure it’s not just as big of a liability as a deficient bridge. OSHA (short for Occupational Safety And Hazard Administration) regularly oversees the everyday efforts of construction workers across the company to ensure minor repairs and major installations are completed safely. As of now OSHA requires any and all excavations to have safe access for working employees, be they ladders or ramps. An excavation is defined as any man-made cut or trench in the earth’s surface.

With standards in place and an increasingly aware public eye on poor driving conditions, more temporary walking bridge projects than ever may see completion over the next decade. Just two years ago the public sector spent over $90 billion on highway construction measures. This is projected to grow to $99 billion by the time 2020 arrives. Public preference for such construction hasn’t changed much, however, and a survey by the Asphalt Pavement Alliance saw eight out of 10 drivers much preferring construction to be completed at night.

Building a fast installation bridge isn’t possible without acute awareness of the weather, soil quality and amount of traffic generally seen in the area. Even simple digging can yield harmful results — atmospheric hazards, such as lowered oxygen levels or the exposure of toxic gases requires employees be ever prepared for what’s to come during a project’s scope. Earth excavation to a depth of two feet below the shield is allowed, but the trench must always be open to a loss of soil either behind or below the support system.

Soil quality is an entire area that requires heavy study to keep workers and bystanders safe. Some soil is loose, even sandy, and can prove treacherous for heavy objects. Other soil clumps together more reliably and provides a good foundation on which to build a project. From Type A to Type C, classifying soils in terms of ‘cohesiveness’ and ‘compressive strength’ helps protect against unexpected accidents. All excavated soil is required to be piled at least two feet away to avoid people slipping or losing equipment. A fast installation bridge may be built quickly, but it’s anything but sloppy.

There are well over 600,000 bridges across the United States. Even with initiatives being put in place to repair them one by one, the function of a temporary road and a temporary bridge rental will remain vitally necessary for the coming years.
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