Bridge repair is a continuous process. The famed Golden Gate Bridge, for example, employs over 200 workers year-round to ensure all facets of the bridge are in tip-top shape. For other bridges, maintenance repairs can be a weekly, monthly, or quarterly concern. In the case of large-scale bridge repair projects, the process can take months or even years to complete.
Aptus has worked on hundreds of bridge-attached utility projects on bridges undergoing repairs. Here’s how the process affects existing utilities piping.
Removing or Relocating Pipes
Perhaps the biggest effect of a comprehensive bridge repair project on attached utility pipes is that in most cases, those pipes need to be moved to accommodate the work. Large-scale bridge repairs (or modifications, or retrofittings) can take months, and the important bridge-attached utilities supported by the structure can’t simply be unfunctional during that time. In most cases, utility pipes are temporarily located to another portion of the bridge until the bridge work is done; for very large bridges, relocation may need to happen more than once during the duration of a massive repair undertaking.
Replacing Old or Outdated Pipes
A bridge repair project also presents an excellent time for attached utilities to be considered for replacement. As more and more bridges begin to reach the end of their “functional” lifespan (that is, the lifespan they are expected to withstand before requiring significant repairs), so too are many of the ageing utilities installed along with them. Bridge repairs typically require the rerouting of traffic and/or a significant influx of specialized equipment which makes them the ideal time to also address ongoing issues with ageing utilities infrastructure.
Very old bridge utility pipes are likely to be made out of steel, which is prone to corrosion and degradation over time. In some cases, original utility pipes simply aren’t strong enough, wide enough, or impact-resistant enough to stay in place for decades to come. Over time, utility hanger systems can become brittle, loosened, or inadequate for supporting the weight and volume carried by their pipes.
Experts Working Together
Bridges and their supported utilities are most efficient when considered holistically. A primary benefit of attending to attached utility pipelines during a bridge repair project is the value that comes from experienced bridge professionals working together to solve complex issues that plague the entire structure, from piers to pipes and beyond. When utility piping is though of as a structural necessity of bridges, not as an add-on, improved performance is the result.
Aptus is the leader in bridge-attached piping and utilities. Our technicians have decades of experience managing installations, repairs, and inspections on bridges both large and small. They’re always happy to work within the bounds of an existing bridge repair project in conjunction with structural engineers.