by Hans Diederichs
Building Bridges for Generations
There are hundreds of thousands of bridges in the world, including over 600,000 in the USA alone. More and more bridges are being built to increase our connectivity. They provide essential trading links between regions and countries. The costs of ongoing maintenance or/and replacement is huge over time and is becoming an unsustainable approach.
Many Bridges are now in a poor condition. Many of these structures were built after World War II with a projected life of 60 years. Bridge usage has been much heavier than planned and the recent approach of cutting maintenance costs has become commonplace resulting in many undesirable safety outcomes.
Life Cycle Cost (LCC) evaluations using stainless steels in critical components of bridges consistently shows the benefits of providing operation with very little maintenance over a lifetime exceeding a century. Stainless steels offer an extremely attractive way of providing structural integrity over unlimited time, as a direct result of their high strength and durability and their excellent corrosion resistance that resists all climates and weather conditions. Whilst the material acquisition costs of stainless steels are higher than competing materials, the massive reduction in lifetime maintenance costs mean that choosing stainless steels becomes the significantly lower cost option over the service life. Furthermore, the reduction in CO2 emissions by avoiding standing traffic during bridge maintenance regimes is another compelling benefit.
Building bridges using stainless steels means building safe bridges for generations.
Source and photo: ISSF