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Let’s talk about our infrastructure.
Take bridges for example:

Millions of people cross bridges each day in America. Our bridges and roads connect people to services, commerce, jobs and our communities. Our infrastructure keeps America going. In fact there’s hardly anything you can do in America today that isn’t supported in some way, by our infrastructure.
According to the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 1 in 9 bridges are structurally deficient. That translates into 70,000 bridges in the United States that require repair or replacement. You can see evidence of our failing infrastructure in any major city in America. Aside from a one-time cash infusion in 2009’s stimulus program, little else has been done to address our crumbling infrastructure, and no legislations seems imminent.

Pittsburgh bridge with structure who’s sole purpose is to catch falling concrete. Photo credit: 60 Minutes

Recently in a 60 minutes segment, Pittsburgh’s bridges were highlighted as an example of the crumbling infrastructure in the US. Currently, there are over 4000 bridges in Pittsburgh’s metro area accommodating over 9,000,000 passengers. Twenty percent of those bridges are rated as structurally deficient. Many of these bridges were built well over 50 years ago – a typical design life of a bridge. The main artery, the Liberty Bridge, was built in 1928 – is 86 years old.  Some bridges are in such disrepair, that steel structures have been built to protect vehicles from falling debris.
According to Andy Herman, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Pennsylvania owns one of the worst infrastructure problems in the nation.  Each year 1{f00316eaeff19fc4d3daa6454136ee4db9a0ad1868aa2a79e58a2db09827821d} of all bridges in Pennsylvania move to the structural deficient list compounding the problem.  Meanwhile, a spending gap exists between the money required to repair or replace these bridges and the money actually being allocated.  Philadelphia’s I-95 includes a 22-mile stretch running through the city with 15 structurally deficient bridges. It would cost an estimated $7 billion to fix that 22-mile stretch of bridges and roads alone, and the state simply lacks the funding.
The proposed budget includes funds to repair degraded bridges to help ensure that collapses like this one don't happen. Photo Credit: CNN
Minnesota I-35 bridge that collapsed in 2007. Photo courtesy of minnesota.cbslocal.com

According to the Urban Land Institutes 2011 report on the US infrastructure, communities must “do more with less, and find creative solutions to the infrastructure problem.”
It is time to take action and there is cause for optimism. Some states are beginning to address underinvestment in infrastructure through legislation. Meanwhile, private industry has developed and tested innovative systems that can play a major roll in bridging the spending gap and extending the life of these structures.
HJ3 Composite Technologies, established in 2001, pioneered the use of carbon fiber technologies to strengthen bridges and overpasses.  Its technology has been used to repair well over 1,000,000 square feet of transportation structures, saving states 80{f00316eaeff19fc4d3daa6454136ee4db9a0ad1868aa2a79e58a2db09827821d} of the cost of replacement.
As citizens we must call attention to our infrastructure problem and demand from our government representatives sustainable investment in fixing this critical problem. We can change the conversation about infrastructure by calling attention to how it affects our economy and by offering solutions. By investing in our infrastructure we can:

  • Create jobs 
  • Strengthen communities
  • Improve commerce

HJ3’s commitment to safe, effective and long-term solutions that strengthen and protect our bridges, buildings and rails is a solution that is smart and cost effective.
Contact us today at info@hj3.com to learn more.
Many thanks to 60 Minutes, who inspired this blog and indirectly contributed information via their segment, “Falling Apart: America’s Neglected Infrastructure” .