- Posted by Jade
- On December 6, 2018
- 0 Comments
Marine & Structural Engineer Stan Royston urges structural inspection for both bridges and jetties, for integrity and public safety.
Bridges are built to serve the public and they should be as economical as possible and as elegant as is safely possible. Jetties are bridges which serve the same purpose, and they all play the same tune of “Bridge over Troubled Waters”. No matter what bridge engineers build the water course will find its own way and will change this course pending on nature and the environmental impact it will have on the structure. While modern designs are about elegance or aesthetics and every design engineer competes for the price of the best designs awards the lack of maintenance is very much ignored and failure on these structures have a huge impact on the general public of which they were built for. Engineers have come a long way in design from the great Roman Empire, masters of Bridge building and Aqueducts, Ship loading wharfs and jetties. The modern founding father and first President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (1818) Thomas Telford (1757-1834) based his designs on the empire. A stone mason by trade who self-declared himself as an engineer. Notable in the early designs there was only one material used being stone or steel on timber. These materials were heavy and carried the same calculation and modules of elasticity to work together as one in forces of nature. Thomas was a pioneer in the use of cast –iron for larger scaled structures and saw a bridge as the province of the engineer who would include an architectural touch as an addition of beauty. The highest cost of road structures is always that bridge which closes the gap, but fail to maintain its flow of water ways which can compromise its structure. Wars are won on bridge control and having
While the social economy is the principal of putting value on reducing cost of construction and retaining efficiency, designers struggle with the facts of physics when using different materials that carry separate elasticity such as a mixture of concrete and steel during design stages trying to focus on main goals is to design without compromising performance or economy. A good structure is a when there is a built in factor of safety and electricity in the material that not only takes the load but will bend with in permitted limits without compromising the structure.
Looking at 60 to 70% of the world structures built with steel and concrete that are in discussion are over 40 to 50 years old, engineers should look at the high rates of catastrophic accidents that are happening to older bridges, that have no Maintenance Management Systems in place. Example of the Genoa bridge collapse and many others.
Bridges build economies and can also break them down if the public who are the main stake holders has no access to their work place or place of abode. With today’s continuous environmental impacts we cannot base our calculations on a hundred year floods. Engineers must think smarter and base their facts and study of asking the question what if the forces of nature should happen tomorrow are we prepared.
AWS Global is on this incredible journey of research and offering serves of managing and carrying out inspections of one of the most important assets that you will own… Bridges.
Words by Stan Royston.