Choosing a Bridge Designer
A bridge designer is the person you turn to if the bridge you are responsible for is not performing well. While the bridge design may have been fine when the bridge was installed the ravages of time, weather and constant use can weaken any bridge.
Signs of wear and tear may be obvious such as traffic gates and signals that malfunction or do not operate properly.
Other times there may be signs that are not so obvious such as the cumulative effect of corrosion due to road salt on the bridges structure. The first step is finding out the operating condition of the bridge by having a bridge inspection performed by a qualified professional engineer.
Based on the engineers assessment the designer may need to get involved to help correct the problems the engineer has uncovered on the bridge.
Some of the problems that might be uncovered include the mechanical components of the bridge. Traffic safety gates will be checked to see how well they are operating and to check wear and tear on their components. Sidewalks, Bridge decking and the Asphalt will be inspected to see how well this is holding up under the constant exposure to heavy traffic and weather.
Sometimes a thing as inocuous as a simple crack in an expansion joint or a void in the concrete can be all thats necessary to allow road salt to drain onto important structural members in the bridge. The resulting rust and corrosion can seriously compromise the safety of the bridge.
This is doubly important of if the bridge has major mechanical components such as with a bascule bridge or lift bridge. These bridges have gearboxes, pinions, brakes and other components which must be kept in good operating order.
The cost of simple maintenance on these items is negligible compared to the astronomical cost of replacement should one of the components fail and cause the bridge to be taken out of operation for any length of time.
A good designer or engineer can ensure the bridge remains in service cost effectively by setting up a suitable maintenance schedule and watching carefully over the condition of components in the bridge.