Robotic Bridge Inspections & Infrastructure Inspections To Improve Transportation Infrastructure
Ap Report of structurally deficient bridgesApril 27th, 2017 Author: Doug Thaler
This is a great excerpt form an article on the state of our nations bridges that appeared in USA Today. It underscores the urgency in properly maintaining and making repairs to our valuable infrastructure assets. Part of the issue is that till now bridge inspection methods were as antiquated as most of the bridges that bridge inspectors were inspecting.
You cannot maintain something properly if you are not familiar with where the problems exist. There are federal and state guidelines that bridge inspectors use to inspect these structures but they are antiquated and do not employ modern technology for a comprehensive inspection.
Our company Infrastructure Preservation Corporation updated these 50 year old inspection methods with modern technology and robotics to provide the department of transportation with the information it needs to properly allocate assets for repairs.
“(from USA Today) WASHINGTON (AP) – …An Associated Press analysis of 607,380 bridges in the most recent federal National Bridge Inventory showed that 65,605 were classified as “structurally deficient” and 20,808 as “fracture critical.” Of those, 7,795 were both – a combination of red flags that experts say indicate significant disrepair and similar risk of collapse.
A bridge is deemed fracture critical when it doesn’t have redundant protections and is at risk of collapse if a single, vital component fails. A bridge is structurally deficient when it is in need of rehabilitation or replacement because at least one major component of the span has advanced deterioration or other problems that lead inspectors to deem its condition poor or worse.Engineers say the bridges are safe. And despite the ominous sounding classifications, officials say that even bridges that are structurally deficient or fracture critical are not about to collapse.
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We hear everyday about our failing infrastructure and that we need to build new bridges but given the budgetary requirements, this is just not possible. From a practical standpoint these bridges need to be maintained better and the only way to do that is to first update the existing guidelines and do away with subjective inspections as much as possible. That we still drag a chain across a bridge deck to listen for potential issues just seems archaic. The fact that only a very small portion is even inspected in that manner even worse. For most of todays infrastructure inspections if you sent out 10 inspectors you would get 10 different results. Our company, Infrastructure Preservation Corporation, “IPC” hopes to change all of that. We have updated the 50year old manual subjective bridge inspections with modern technology and robotics that will provide the department of transportation the information that they need to properly allocate assets and conduct maintenance and repairs.
By locating early stage deterioration and making repairs in a timely manner we can extend the service life of most of our bridges. In addition, we can help avoid catastrophic events and save billions of dollars in untimely replacements. In order to prevent the long bureaucratic process typically associated with new technology on government infrastructures, IPC is performing these new inspections within current DOT inspection budgets. By not having to close lanes or use heavy equipment on the bridge, the public is not inconvenienced and no accidents can occur. This has caused IPC’s robotic bridge inspection services to be quickly adopted. It will take the current engineering firms/asset managers longer to adopt the new technology due to the fact that they charge the government in man hours which IPC’s services reduce.
These engineering firms are huge and inspections are conducted and managed by project managers that are paid and bonus ed on man hours. Even though the firms bottom line would increase 20-30% using IPC’s services, until or unless senior management discovers that these services are available, current firms may try to stay put and conduct business as usual. Today however with so much focus on infrastructure this old way of thinking won’t last long. As IPC has seen, the department of transportation is excited about the quantitative data on 100% of the asset being inspected. It helps them allocate budgets and resources, avoid unnecessary expenditures. The information is invaluable in determining an assets current condition and areas of concern. Take a look at the IPC website for more details on specific services at https://www.infrastructurepc.com