At the turn of the century, building bridges was a booming business across the nation and since then, bridging technology has changed dramatically. For example, back in 1933, the Golden Gate Bridge needed a whopping 83,000 tons of steel to be built, whereas only half of that would be needed today.
However, just because these older bridges had more steel, doesn’t necessarily mean they are still safe considering today’s standards.
In fact, a recent report from the Auto Insurance Center found that there are over 100,000 dangerous bridges throughout the entire nation. Over half — 65,000 — were deemed structurally deficient, and while these structurally unsafe bridges are found in all 50 states, those in Washington D.C., New York, and Massachusetts are the worst off.
These bridges pose a risk to residents every single day, as people are traveling on bridges they believe are safe. In D.C. alone, there are 28,193 daily crossings on deficient bridges. Not to mention that in New York, one in four bridges are considered completely and functionally obsolete, the Washington Examiner reports.
According to the report, age seems to be to blame. In only seven of the states, more than 10% of the bridges were completed within the last 10 years. For perspective, the busiest and most structurally deficient bridge in New York was built in 1961.
In order to combat these astonishing high numbers of unsafe bridges, President Trump has promised to put billions towards expanding and developing the nation’s infrastructure. While the majority of this budget has not been used just yet, New York City has recently revealed three new bridges to the city’s skyline. The Kosciuszko Bridge is being completely replaced, a yet-to-be-named two cable-stayed bridge will be replacing the Goethals Bridge, and then in 2018, the New New York Bridge will replace the Tappan Zee Bridge.
These new bridges will boast cable-stayed technology that will ensure the longevity of each bridge, preventing safety problems for years to come.
Besides these cables, there is a lot of technology available that will help to determine whether a bridge is safety compliant. This includes an electrochemical fatigue crack sensor system which can detect cracks in the bridge as small as 0.01 inches.