They take place almost every day somewhere across the country. Highway bridge inspections, that is. But the truth is that most of us never see them happen.

That’s a bit different when the traffic across a bridge or overpass that we travel on our way to work is closed. Or, more often, there will be a lane shift and a slow down of traffic while the large under bridge inspection unit is on the bridge deck. 

Of course, the larger the bridge, the bigger the truck or trailer-mounted platform being used.  And that’s when commuters and others usually take notice of the bridge workers and the specialized equipment being used for these routine bridge inspections.

What’s amazing is how often these regularly scheduled bridge inspections go unnoticed by the general public.

Given that there are estimated to be close to 620,000 highway bridges in the continental United States alone that must be inspected at least once every two years, there’s a great deal of work going on everywhere.

In fact, it is safe to say that there are probably, on average, over 800 bridge inspections occurring almost every day somewhere in the nation.

And that includes all those “smaller” bridges that are not very high nor very wide.

Smaller Bridges Get Inspected, Too

Depending on the roadway, whether it is a freeway or an arterial, collector, or local road, the federally mandated minimum height for overpasses is 14 feet in both urban and rural areas. 

However, the Federal Highway Administration adds that, 

“On Interstates, the clear height of structures shall not be less than 16 feet (4.9 meters) over the entire roadway width, including the usable width of shoulder. In urban areas, the 16-foot (4.9-meter) clearance shall apply to at least a single routing.”

As for bridge deck width, there is no “average” width of highway bridges as this is determined by the number of lanes and the width of the shoulder areas including footpaths and outside parapets or railings.

Since the minimum recommended lane width is 12 feet with up to four feet or more to accommodate the shoulders, a two-lane highway bridge may be no wider than 32 feet in many cases. 

All of these figures simply mean that, in many bridge inspection scenarios, a smaller under bridge inspection unit can be more than sufficient. 

In other words, inspecting a small highway bridge with a truck-mounted platform such as the Anderson Hydra HPT66 would be highly inefficient. With an under bridge reach of up to 66 feet, this is far more than would be needed for a 40-foot wide bridge, for example.

Add to that the almost eight and half foot truck width and a vehicle weight of almost 55,000 pounds, it is easy to see why a smaller under bridge platform would be far more preferable.

Which is why Under Bridge Platforms offers some of the best in lighter weight and smaller capacity machines available. 

Big Performance and Capability in a Compact Package

One approach to a smaller bridge inspection project is using an Aspen Aerials A-30 under bridge platform.

Weighing in at a minimum of only 32,000 pounds with a three-man bucket, this versatile under bridge inspection unit can still provide a horizontal under bridge reach of almost 31 feet. While it does take up just over eight feet on the bridge deck, its lighter weight and sufficient reach make it a great option for those smaller highway bridges.

Another good choice is our Barin Automatic Bridge Control ABC 50/C under bridge inspection unit. 

With a total vehicle width of just over five feet and a weight of only 6,500 pounds, this slim and lightweight under bridge platform unit is both compact and unique. This crawler can place a two-man inspection or maintenance crew over 13 feet down the side of a highway bridge and provide up to 16 feet of working reach underneath a bridge deck.

Find Your Right Sized Unit at Under Bridge Platforms 

No matter what size of highway bridge you are inspecting, having a broad selection to choose from for your under bridge access needs is critical to efficiently completing your project.

Which is why you can depend on Under Bridge Platforms to provide quality under bridge equipment, serving all of the Western States, including California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, and Wyoming.

Our large and expanding inventory of under bridge access platforms includes state-of-the-art bridge access platforms such as the versatile Aspen Aerials A-40 bridge inspection unit as well as the far-reaching HPT 38 Truck Mounted Platform.

In addition, we carry a wide variety of bridge inspection platform vehicles that all feature multiple capabilities. Along with reach and platform size, determining the best choice for your bridge inspection, maintenance, or repair work also depends on both the bridge structure and the terrain underneath. 

We are also proud to be the only company in our industry based in California that offers total under bridge access. And by consistently providing high quality customer service, we have managed to build long-lasting relationships with our esteemed customers.

All of which are qualities that we work hard to keep that way. 

So, contact us today and let us help you with your under bridge platform and bridge access needs.