Bridge inspections are regulated by both federal and state guidelines in the United States and the state’s regulations can vary significantly. Federal regulations for bridge inspections, on the other hand, are documented in the National Bridge Inventory Standards (NBIS).
Most of the State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) incorporate the same guidelines found in the NBIS, with many states having expanded on them, as well. Consequently, many states require that more types of bridges be inspected and that inspections be conducted more frequently than recommended by the NBIS.
Included in the various rules and regulations are the types of bridges required to be inspected and how often they should be inspected, as well as the qualifications needed to be a bridge inspector. Many states also place more qualification requirements on inspectors based on local inspection needs.
Why is this important?
According to the most recent available statistics from the Federal Highway Administration, of the more than 616,000 bridges in all the 50 states, Guam and Puerto Rico more than 47,000 bridges are in need of major repairs.
And that’s not taking into account the required inspections for those 600,000-plus bridges.
When it comes to carrying out the inspection work, ropes, ladders and rigging can be used in many instances. However, under bridge inspection trucks often allow for far easier and more efficient inspection, cleaning and maintenance work. Consequently, under bridge inspection units are often a better choice because of the versatility of their articulated booms and large platforms.
The Benefits of Using an Under Bridge Inspection Truck
These units make it much easier for inspectors and repair crews to access hard-to-reach areas of bridges from the bridge decks. An under bridge inspection truck makes it relatively easy to maneuver workers and platforms safely to a wide range of positions for performing hands-on bridge maintenance and inspections.
Under Bridge Inspection Safety
While there are some who might disagree, in general the safety and efficiency of using stable under bridge inspection trucks is greater than what can be achieved with other bridge rigging options such as ropes, ladders, scaffolding and other equipment. In addition, using an under bridge inspection truck allows inspectors to perform extensive bridge inspections, maintenance and repairs with relative ease and minimal “break down” and set-up of inspection equipment.
More Cost-Effective Inspection Work
Many times, the use of an under bridge inspection truck rental will cost less overall than other types of bridge rigging equipment such as scaffolding or ropes. While the actual rental of the vehicle may seem high, this expense is typically recouped by the shorter time required for completing the inspection project.
Reduction of Traffic Closures or Delays
A drawback to some bridge inspection tactics is having to close off portions of the bridge traffic or employ traffic control, both of which cause traffic delays. With most under bridge inspection trucks, however, these delays are minimized or even unnecessary while carrying out the under bridge inspections.
More Reach and Versatility During Inspections
Compared to ground-based units, scaffolding, and other under bridge inspection equipment, the reach and access with most under bridge inspection trucks is far greater. Depending on the model and type of under bridge inspection truck, many articulated booms can achieve vertical reaches of up to 75 feet or more, and provide horizontal access to more than 60 feet in any direction.
Some of the larger under bridge inspection trucks have four booms, providing greater reach and under bridge surface access. Depending on the particular under bridge inspection vehicle, these units typically feature a two or three-person bucket, while other models such as the HPT43, come with a multiple-person platform on the third boom and a ladder on the second boom.
Finding Under Bridge Inspection Equipment
With the wide range of capabilities available, determining the best choice for your bridge inspection project can be challenging. However, it often depends on the structure itself and the terrain you’re working on.
Pricing is a major consideration, of course, but your specific project needs and required capabilities should be the primary deciding factors for your under bridge inspection truck choice.
As professionals in the industry, we can guide you through the process of renting or buying the right vehicle and equipment for your project. Experience and knowledge are key to making the best choice.
We provide quality under bridge equipment throughout all the Western States, including California, Washington, and Oregon. Our inventory of snooper trucks and under bridge access platforms include the state-of-the-art self-drive access platform, the Truck Mounted Hydra Platform HPT43:
“With its maximum drop depth of over 20 ft. (6.16 m) and platform extension of 43 ft. (13.10 m), the HPT43 will allow you access to more than 1,700 square feet of under-bridge area in a single placement.
At a total weight of 45,000 lbs. (20,412 kg), the HPT43 provides enormous natural stability. It is powered by a cost-efficient 30kW silenced diesel generator with hydraulic pump, with PTO backup from the truck engine.
[The] patented Tower Separation System (TSS), provides easy access over sidewalks and railings. The horizontal-always crossover platform makes access between platform and deck easy regardless of platform height or extension.”
We take a great deal of pride in being 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 your requirements.