An Associated Press analysis of over 600,000 bridges in the federal National Bridge Inventory showed that over 65,600 were classified as “structurally deficient” and more than 20,800 as “fracture critical.” Of those, almost 8,000 were both fracture critical and structurally deficient. These signs 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.
Cities and states would like to repair and replace the vulnerable and aging bridges, but few have the money; nationally, it is a multibillion-dollar problem. As a result, highway engineers are juggling repairs and retrofits in an effort to stay ahead of the deterioration. The Associated Press. This is not only a dangerous game but puts human life in danger.
As of this writing the inspection of the components of the bridge that could be easily repaired to extend its life did not exist. The Infrastructure Preservation Corporation spent almost 7 years and plenty of cash to develop one of the first patented systems that can inspect post tension cables and CableStays that support most bridges. This is the first time we can actually look into the cables to assess air intrusion, water intrusion and bleeding grout or grout that is no longer performing its function. Due to the advent of their trademarked and patented CableStayScanTM and TendonScanTM systems, IPC can now easily test and report back to the engineering firms and government agencies to pinpoint the areas of the bridge tendons that are in need of repair.
Critical repairs can then be made in order to prevent the bridge from failing, extend its life preserve the infrastructure adding years if not decades to its life. This will enable the government to utilize existing capital for more urgent repairs or replacements.