Particularly for areas with large amounts of water, bridges are among the most essential components of transportation infrastructure. Any civil engineering company which builds and maintains these structures must incorporate a huge complexity of factors into the structural design. These include everything from the weather and geology of the area to the amount of traffic the bridge is expected to accommodate.
While the top engineering consulting companies draw up plans for extremely durable bridges, none can escape the effects of time, nature, and use. More than a quarter of all bridges in the United States are either immediately in need of repair, or are carrying more traffic than they were designed to handle. The following policy issues, as laid out by Transportation for America, stand in the way of every civil engineering company ready to revitalize U.S. infrastructure.
- States need more funds
The most readily apparent obstacle every civil engineering company faces is a dearth of funding from the federal transportation program. From 2006 to 2009, the average transportation budget required by each state increased by nearly half. The size of the transportation program, however, increased a mere 14%.
- States must use funds for their intended purpose
States are permitted to allocate as much as half of their funds originally designated for bridges to serve other projects. Furthermore, the program does not account for longer-term preventative maintenance. To receive federal funds, a bridge must currently display a certain threshold of structural deficiency.
- A balance needs to be struck between new construction and maintenance of old structures
New projects are exciting, tangible evidence of progress toward increased connectivity. However, as every responsible civil engineering company knows, maintenance and repair are equally vital. Yet a look at states’ allocation of funds shows a bias toward the new. While states put a total upwards of $18 billion in federal transportation funds toward new or larger roads alone, a mere $8 billion were used to fund the repair of existing infrastructure.
Whatever the design, management, or supervision services required for the next civil engineering project, reach out to ACI, the superior civil engineering firm in Florida.