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America's Crumbling Bridges: Importance of Utilities Inspections

Posted by Edward Dill on Apr 6, 2017 10:54:00 AM

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America has well over 600,000 bridges, nearly a fifth of which are over 50 years old. Both municipalities and the federal government are taking note of American bridges’ deficiencies and working to remedy structural and aesthetic challenges across the board. One of the most complicated and fastest-growing areas of bridge maintenance is bridge-attached utilities: the pipelines that use bridges to carry some of the country’s most essential utilities.

Why is it so important that America’s bridge-attached utilities are inspected often?

To Ensure Safety
Far and away the most crucial reason for regular bridge utility inspections is to ensure the safety of those traveling across the structure and living near it. Certain utilities – particularly oil, gas, and electric – are volatile when exposed and uncontained. Because bridges are elevated above ground, attached utilities face more wear and tear over time than their buried counterparts. Water, excessive wind, and the constant motion of a bridge all take a toll on utility structures; bridge utility inspections can prevent leaks, rust, and even full-scale breakdowns.

To Keep Utilities Running
The American public has quickly become accustomed to a way of life in which water, gas, electricity, and even the Internet is always accessible. A breakdown in the utility chain is no longer just inconvenient, it can cost dependent businesses millions of dollars. Consider fiber optic Internet: Unheard of just ten years ago, FTTH is now the gold-standard Internet connection in over 25% of America. When a single fiber optic cable snaps, service can be lost to thousands of customers at once, grinding business (and online purchases) to a halt. Keeping utilities like these up and running is one of the primary goals of regular bridge utility maintenance.

To Head Off Costly Problems
Bridge-attached utilities do not exist in a vacuum. When a bridge becomes structurally deficient (as over 9% of American bridges are known to be), many services and behaviors are at risk. A structurally-deficient bridge is dangerous for both the people traversing it and the utilities and other support services attached to it. Regular bridge utility inspections often catch potentially expensive problems before they’re beyond repair, from corrosion caused by salt air to loose rivets made worse by vibration. When an experienced bridge utility repair team inspects utility connections they’re also inspecting the viability of the bridge itself; the utilities depend upon it.

 

Aptus is the nation’s leader in bridge attached utility inspections. With a highly-trained team of experts and a fleet of equipment specifically designed for the job, Aptus is a one-stop-shop for bridge utility repair and maintenance.

When experience matters, contact Aptus.

Topics: Bridge Utilities, Infrastructure