Our Nation’s Bridges Are Deteriorating What’s Being Done To Stop It

Access road construction

Bridges are an essential part of everyday life. They get us where we need to go when we have work to complete, kids to drop off and assignments to study. Without sturdy bridges connecting countless cities, towns and states across the country many people would be stranded without further option. Repairing and outright replacing American bridges is a common issue as of late, with many of these structures showing degradation over time and requiring the aid of various equipment to return to its best state. Excavation shoring design, trench box shield solutions and temporary bridges are just a few of the elements that can be selected to create a safer, better traveling experience for all.

Safety Measures

Let’s talk about safety measures. Due to the precarious nature of bridges, be they large or small, they need to be constantly maintained to avoid crumbling or weakening through constant use. Nearly two hundred million trips are taken on a daily basis across notably deficient bridges across the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan regions. OSHA, short for ‘occupational safety and health administration’, requires construction workers to follow strict protocols when analyzing and repairing these bridges. For example, OSHA requires safe access as well as egress to all excavations through the use of ladders, ramps or steps.

General Issues

There are a few general issues that can need the aid of a trench box shield or excavation shoring box. The first are tension cracks. These are usually formed at a horizontal distance from 0.5 to 0.75 times the depth of the trench. Even a tiny crack can become a major problem, meaning these need to be taken as seriously as possible when they show the first signs. The second are construction times. A recenty survey conducted by the Asphalt Pavement Alliance saw eight out of 10 drivers much preferring road maintenance performed during off-peak hours. This is the main reason building contractors will do their work during evening or night.

Basic Solutions

What solutions can be accessed in order to accurately and quickly complete basic to complex repair jobs? The first is using a trench box shield to create a much more reliable repair operation. ‘Unit Weight Of Soils’ is a term that refers to the weight of one unit of particular soil. This weight varies through a few different factors, with moisture and depth some of the most common, and can weigh as much as 140 pounds per cubic meter. All excavated soil and additional materials need to be at least two feet away from trench edges to prevent equipment from sliding and falling into the holes.

Common Hazards

There are a wealth of hazards that can keep workers from doing their job. This is why it’s essential to test for atmospheric hazards before proceeding with a construction job. This can include, but is not limited to, low oxygen levels, the presence of hazardous fumes and the onset of toxic gases. The latter can be discovered when digging deep into the earth where they wouldn’t be able to escape soil content otherwise. OSHA provides necessary pamphlets and rule sets to be followed when proceeding with an excavation.

Keeping Our Bridges Safe Everyday

How do we keep our bridges safe against so many factors? Through the use of proper equipment, steady preparation and a keen eye. The two basic types of shoring are timber and aluminum hydraulic. While trench boxes are usually used in open areas, they can also be used in a powerful combination of sloping and benching. To properly use a trench box shield is to be familiar with different types of soil and hazardous elements, all the better to make sure the job proceeds without a hitch. The Federal Highway Administration (shortened to FHWA) has estimated that to properly eliminate the nation’s bridge backlog by 2028, nearly $20 billion needs to be invested annually. It’s time to get to work.

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