Bridge Repair: Minor Issues Can Become Major Problems

When we start coming down with a runny nose or a scratchy throat, we know those symptoms indicate an overall health issue.

The same is true when examining structures for damage and wear. As bridges age, deficiencies are inevitable, and the smallest signs of deterioration can indicate greater problems. How do engineers know when to intervene and what steps to take to either renovate, restore, or rebuild a bridge entirely?

Bridge inspection is at the center of safety and maintenance. The three main parts of a bridge should be examined carefully and regularly. The decking should be inspected from underneath to look for any visible reinforcing steel. The superstructure should be examined for corrosion-related deterioration. And the substructure that holds up the bridge contains the expansion joint, which must be inspected carefully as it is a prime spot for potential instability.

Bridge fatigue is a common issue that contributes to bridge deterioration. Tiny cracks in the steel structure of a bridge form over time, and as the steel accumulates stress from the weight of constant traffic, the tiny cracks grow and spread into fatigue fractures.

These realities make it all the more necessary to maintain a consistent schedule of bridge inspections. Dealing with repairs and issues in a proactive rather than reactive way saves money in the long-term and often results in less disruption to those who use and rely on the bridge. Using bridge models in the planning stages can also be a key practice in constructing new bridges that can more effectively deal with the transport and environmental issues of today.

Anatomic Iron Steel Detailing’s bridge detailing service has expanded and is ready to assist with your next bridge project. Contact us for more information about how the Anatomic team can partner with you.