How To Extend The Life of North America’s Concrete Infrastructure

How To Extend The Life of North America’s Concrete Infrastructure

The United States requires a huge investment in all essential infrastructure, from railways and dams to bridges and airports. If the current network of highways remains in a state of disrepair, the consequences for the future could be serious.

One in ten bridges has been labeled as structurally deficient which means thousands of bridges in the US have considerable defects that requires rehabilitation. Concrete deterioration and a lack of safety features fail bridges to fulfill their intended purpose.

In Canada, one-third of the highway bridges have functional or structural deficiencies. The short remaining service life of concrete infrastructure is one of the biggest concerns for governments.

The civil engineering community is seeking solutions to reduce operating and maintenance costs of bridges during their service life. Fortunately, construction industries in Canada and in the US are now exploring advances in material sciences in order to meet public demands.

Companies like TUF-BAR are already developing innovative construction materials such as composite concrete reinforcement and fiberglass rebar. However, the construction industry in North America has been facing financial and technical barriers that make it difficult to explore or implement new construction technologies and products.

The whole life cost of a bridge is the sum of resources spent throughout the life of a bridge. From initial construction costs and repairs to maintenance costs, whole life cost of a bridge will help agencies make better decisions in the future.

Low life cycle cost is more important than low initial cost

Due to financial constraints, the construction industry is forced to choose relatively inexpensive construction materials such as steel or other traditional materials. If a country is serious about achieving sustainable infrastructure, it has to prioritize the whole life-cycle cost of a project. Using substandard materials might decrease the initial construction cost, but this will lead to high life-cycle costs and premature structural failures.

The significance of composite materials

It’s an established fact that corrosion of traditional materials is one of the reasons why concrete infrastructure deteriorates and needs expensive maintenance to reach its expected service life. On top of that, heavy traditional materials increase the indirect costs of rehabilitating a bridge. The use of composite materials like GFRP rebar is the only effective way to reduce the whole life cycle costs of critical concrete structures. Composite materials are inherently lightweight and offer twice the strength of traditional reinforcing materials. Low maintenance cost and the ability to construct long-life structures are two prime reasons why agencies in Canada and the United States should increasingly implement GFRP products.


TUF-BAR produces and sells the highest quality GFRP fiberglass rebar and other fiberglass reinforcement products in North America. Our prime focus is to unlock sustainable construction possibilities. It’s time for you to build maintenance-free and durable concrete structures that can achieve service life of 100 years or more. Contact us for more information!