Bridges sometimes fail.
But the vast majority of highway bridges throughout the United States have not failed – nor are likely to. And it is largely due to both the engineering and the construction of these bridges, as well as the routine inspections and maintenance that takes place on highway bridges all over the country.
And what is needed to carry out all of the required bridge work is reliable equipment.
Bridge Inspections, Maintenance, and Under Bridge Equipment
In addition to the tools and equipment that bridge work crews carry with them, the other essential piece of equipment is the under bridge inspection truck, or UBIT.
These vehicles are called by many names, including under bridge platforms, bridge access vehicles, and “snooper” trucks, although Snooper™ is actually the trademarked name for the well-known Paxton-Mitchell Underbridge Inspection and Maintenance Truck.
And under bridge platforms or access vehicles are used by thousands of county road departments, state DOTs, as well as engineering firms and construction companies on the nation’s public highway bridges throughout the United States.
But not every bridge that needs inspection and maintenance is a public highway bridge.
For example, according to a recent article from United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE),
“The primary purpose of the USACE Bridge Safety Program is to ensure all bridges within each district’s inventory are safe for their intended use. Bridge types vary from access bridges, railroad bridges, public pedestrian bridges to complex bridges. When conducting inspections and evaluations of a bridge site for user safety, there are specific requirements, detailed procedures and best practices that are closely adhered to for all bridge types.
According to the USACE Bridge Safety Program, all USACE offices having ownership or oversight responsibility of bridges must inventory, inspect, evaluate and prepare reports. Sufficient evaluations must be conducted to determine safety, structural integrity, capacity and mission suitability.”
But what all agencies and organizations engaged in bridge inspections and maintenance work have in common is the need for reliable equipment.
Technology, Tools, and Time
Among the many challenges that face bridge inspectors, engineering firms, and contractors is the sheer number of bridges that must be inspected, repaired, and – in many cases – replaced. The time required for all of these functions and the current availability of resources makes this an overwhelming undertaking.
In the United States alone there are over 617,000 bridges and all of them must be inspected at least once every two years.
The recent passage of the federal infrastructure bill promises to make vast amounts of funding available, which will certainly go a long way towards alleviating some of the pressure. However, there are still so many bridges and so little time, so to speak.
Technology also promises to help in the challenge to inspect and repair bridges and other infrastructure.
A start-up company in Pittsburgh, for example, has developed technology that uses a combination of 3-D, thermal, and laser images to reveal real-time deficiencies in bridge structures.
One of the founders of Mach9 Robotics says in a recent article that,
“[I]t is technology that not only exposes structural deficiencies but also the deficiencies in the normal practices of bridge inspectors who are not armed with the technology.”
The article goes on to note that the images they capture are often invisible to common bridge inspection procedures. The company’s process stores information on bridges into software programs and can be used by civil engineering firms and state agencies to make critical infrastructure design, operations, and construction decisions “in minutes, not months.”
Other advances in bridge inspection tools include the increasing use of drones, or UAVs, to provide quick and relatively easy visual access to bridge structures and hard to reach areas under or above bridge decks.
While none of these tools and technology can replace the need for hands-on, manual bridge inspection techniques and processes, they do hold the promise of accelerating and helping to both improve and simplify the bridge inspection process.
Under Bridge Platforms: Your Expert and Reliable Equipment Partners
We provide quality under bridge equipment throughout all the Western States, including Utah, California, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon.
Our equipment fleet is made up of a variety of different under bridge inspection platform vehicles that feature multiple capabilities. In addition, the structure and the terrain of your project are factors for determining the best choice for your work.
Under Bridge Platforms is a professional firm that you can rely on to guide you throughout the process of buying or renting the right under bridge inspection vehicle and bridge inspection platform equipment for your project. Our mission is to always help you make the proper selection.
Our large and expanding inventory of boom lift trucks and under bridge inspection units includes many quality and high-capacity vehicles, such as the massive HPT 43 Truck Mounted Platform, the versatile Barin ABC 50/C Crawler, and the rugged Aspen Aerials A-40.
We are proud to be the only company in California that offers total under bridge access. By offering high quality customer service, we have managed to build long-lasting relationships with our esteemed customers. And we intend to keep it that way.
Contact us today to discuss the specific needs of your project.