Durable bridge infrastructure is imperative when it comes to economic development. It brings communities together and facilitates all kinds of business and trade activities. The economic impact the bridge infrastructure can have on an economy is certainly profound. Over the last few years, economists have identified how bridges positively influence various economic activities.
While nations can’t achieve sustainable growth without road and bridge infrastructure, it requires a massive amount of resources annually to maintain old and deteriorated bridges, especially ones reinforced with traditional materials like steel rebar. The American Society of Civil Engineers releases reports highlighting the performance capabilities and current condition of bridges across the United States.
Recent reports identified some longstanding issues related to structural deficiencies. The report released in 2017 grade all types of infrastructure as low D+ which means there is a dire need of repair or replacement of rapidly deteriorating concrete infrastructure. A nation’s bridges are probably more important than other municipal buildings as they are a critical part of local and national economies.
Local and federal governments in Canada and the United States should make it a priority to rehabilitate structurally deficient bridges using innovative and corrosion-free materials like GFRP reinforcement and other fiberglass products. Bridge users are probably not aware of the fact that structurally deficient bridges reaching the end of its service life can be closed at any time. Closing bridges stalls economic activities and makes it difficult to move goods from one city to another. Therefore, it is important not only to rehabilitate deteriorating bridges but also to implement sustainable construction technologies and products.
Using rust-free and high-strength materials like fiberglass rebar will help governments avoid premature structural failure and heavy maintenance costs. In 2016, over 9% of all of the bridges in the United States were found to be structurally deficient. An increasing number of public concrete structures are reaching their expected service life. It is estimated that more than $100 billion is required to get these structures back into shape.
Structural deficiency is also a major problem in Canada. Communities have lacked infrastructure investments for the last decade. There is a growing need to eliminate the infrastructure deficit which is negatively impacting the country’s economic growth. A long-term vision and planning are absolutely critical when it comes to repairing or building concrete infrastructure for the future.
Smart use of construction products, data, and technology can help nations optimize their existing infrastructure. For example, data reveals that steel reinforcement isn’t a good choice in corrosive environments. Bridges reinforced with steel deteriorates fast and leads to costly maintenance. GFRP materials are an excellent alternative to steel and other traditional materials. Replacing steel with GFRP will help us build sustainable bridge infrastructure for the future.
TUF-BAR is one of the largest manufacturers of GFRP construction products in North America. If you want to know more about composite construction products and their application in bridge construction or other civil engineering projects, feel free to contact us.