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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bridge Safety: Many U.S. Spans Are Old, Risky And Rundown

Transportation accidents are one of the leading cause of work-related compensation claims. Today's post was shared by Huffington Post and comes from www.huffingtonpost.com

Bridge Safety

Motorists coming off the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge into Washington are treated to a postcard-perfect view of the U.S. Capitol. The bridge itself, however, is about as ugly as it gets: The steel underpinnings have thinned since the structure was built in 1950, and the span is pocked with rust and crumbling concrete.

District of Columbia officials were so worried about a catastrophic failure that they shored up the horizontal beams to prevent the bridge from falling into the Anacostia River.

And safety concerns about the Douglass bridge, which is used by more than 70,000 vehicles daily, are far from unique.

An Associated Press analysis of 607,380 bridges in the most recent federal National Bridge Inventory showed that 65,605 were classified as "structurally deficient" and 20,808 as "fracture critical." Of those, 7,795 were both – a combination of red flags that experts say indicate significant disrepair and similar risk of collapse.

A bridge is deemed fracture critical when it doesn't have redundant protections and is at risk of collapse if a single, vital component fails. A bridge is structurally deficient when it is in need of rehabilitation or replacement because at least one major component of the span has advanced deterioration or other problems that lead inspectors to deem its condition poor or worse.
Engineers say the bridges are safe. And despite the ominous sounding classifications, officials say that even bridges that are structurally...
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