For any nation, infrastructure safety and development are essential to economic well being. It’s no secret that in the U.S., the aging infrastructure has been woefully neglected and is both outdated and dangerous. It regularly scores failing grades when evaluated by engineers and designers. At the same time, repairs are a highly specialized and skilled operation, requiring preparations and support structures like access road construction and modular hydraulic waler systems. These help to ensure the safety of the workers during construction, and also the overall success of the project.
An aging infrastructure
An aging infrastructure holds back economic progress and recovery. It’s also outright dangerous, as some recent and spectacular bridge and highway collapses have proven. As many as one out of nine bridges in the U.S. has been rated by experts as structurally deficient.
That’s not really surprising given that the average age of the bridges in the country is 42 years. Each day some 200 million commuters in the 102 largest metropolitan areas travel these dangerous bridges. Much of the interstate system dates back to the 1950s and the Eisenhower era. While it remains a significant achievement, it is in need of overhaul and repairs.
Investing in the future
Infrastructure repair and updates are essential for public safety. They’re also central to economic recovery and progress. Investment in infrastructure has rightly been seen as investment in the future of the country. Even repair projects for different types of bridges can be costly.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), fixing the problems with all the bridges by 2028 would need an annual investment of $20.5 billion. However, current annual spending on repairs meets just over half this need, and amounts to only $12.8 billion.
Expert repairs and upgrades
Repairs and upgrades are costly and highly skilled operations, requiring top notch planning and execution. Preparations have to be in place before actually beginning the repairs, with excavation shoring, power braces, temporary roads and modular hydraulic waler systems as needed.
Excavation shoring methods also need to take into account oxygen levels and the possibility of toxic fumes when the trenches are deeper than 4 feet down. Safety measures are key and there are OSHA requirements for safe access to excavations. When the trenches or excavations are over four feet deep, workers should have access to safe means of exit as well as entry.
The nation?s aging infrastructure needs repairs and upgrades to improve safety and to promote economic recovery and growth. Construction equipment like bridges, structural and trench shoring and modular hydraulic waler systems can ensure the safety of workers and the quality of the finished project.