According to 2017 reports by the American Society of Civil Engineers, more than 40% of the bridges in the United States are over 50 years old, and 10% are structurally unfit. What’s scarier is that over 188 million vehicles cross over these bridges each day. With so many bridges deteriorating, the main issue is the need to keep these bridges maintained to prevent further damage. To help be proactive in bridge repair and maintenance, it is important to implement bridge preservation and prevention. Here are 5 ways to be proactive in your bridge repair and maintenance. Click To Tweet
Bridge Repair: Prevention and Preservation
Prevention is about keeping bridges from developing issues, while preservation focuses on fixing and repairing problems. Both are crucial to proactive bridge repair and maintenance and helping halt the deterioration of the bridge. Here are five things that are done to maintain bridges, and in turn, preserve them.
- Establish a Long-Term Commitment
- Cyclical Maintenance Activities
- Condition-Based Preventions
- Crisis Maintenance
- Have the Right Equipment
1) Establish A Long-Term Commitment
One of the main elements of preserving bridges is to make a long-term commitment to maintaining and improving the bridge through its entire life. By setting a schedule to perform certain maintenance tasks, you can help extend the life of the bridge. Creating a checklist and timeline can help you stay on track.
2) Conduct Cyclical Maintenance Activities
Performed on a schedule, these maintenance activities can help keep the bridge from deteriorating. Some examples of maintenance that needs to be done every year or so are:
- Wash and clean the entire bridge
- Lubricate bearings
- Clear drainage areas
- Repaint exposed areas
- Remove trash and other debris
- Zone coat steel beams and girders
- Install deck overlay on concrete decks
3) Condition-Based Preventions
While cyclical maintenance needs to be done on a planned schedule, condition-based prevention happens when issues are discovered during bridge inspections. If a problem is found during the inspection, the repairs are made in order to keep the bridge in good working order and to extend the life of the bridge. Some examples of this type of preventative measures are: replacing or sealing leaking joints, installing deck overlays, and painting and sealing steel structural elements.
4) Crisis Maintenance
Crisis maintenance in bridge repair is the most challenging because it means something has happened to put the bridge (and those using it) in jeopardy. You want to avoid crises at all cost by performing the cyclical and condition-based maintenance regularly. If the bridge gets severely damaged or neglected, rehabilitation or a total bridge replacement might be needed.
5) Have the Right Equipment
ProTip: To make sure you are able to properly maintain the bridge, it is important to have all the right equipment for the job. Having the best equipment allows you to save time and money when a repair is needed.
For example, an Aqua-Barrier® inflatable water dam is the perfect tool for your dewatering purposes. This reusable dewatering tool is a better option than traditional sheet piling or sandbags because it takes less time to set up and is also environmentally friendly, too.
Effective Bridge Repairs and Maintenance
By being proactive with your bridge repair and maintenance, you can help keep our American bridges safe and functioning. By planning and scheduling cyclical maintenance and condition-based preventions, and by having the right tools for the job, you can help eliminate crises and the need for more drastic issues that might lead to a bridge replacement.
Contact us to learn more ways on how you can adopt a proactive bridge repair and maintenance plan.