It is important to have qualified bridge painters apply industrial coatings before corrosion causes structural damage. Americans cross unsafe bridges millions of times each day. For example, in May, the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge over the Mississippi River made headlines when it was closed due to a fracture in one of the horizontal steel beams. Inspection reports of the I-55 bridge also showed girders with section loss due to active corrosion.
Regulations covering bridges exist to reduce the threat to public safety. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on bridge maintenance and rehabilitation due to corrosion. The statistics below are from a 2002 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and NACE breakthrough study: “Corrosion Costs and Preventive Strategies in the United States.”
Number of Bridges in the United States
There are approximately 583,000 bridges — 200,000 are steel, 235,000 are conventional reinforced concrete, 108,000 are prestressed concrete, and the balance are made of other construction materials. Approximately 15% of these bridges are structurally deficient because of corroded steel and steel reinforcement.
Direct Cost of Bridge Corrosion
Annual direct cost estimates total $8.3 billion, including $3.8 billion to replace deficient bridges over a 10 year period, $2 billion for maintenance and capital costs for concrete bridge decks, $2 billion for concrete substructures, and $0.5 billion for maintenance painting of steel bridges. Indirect costs to the public, such as traffic delays and lost productivity, were estimated to be 10 times higher than direct corrosion costs.
Preventing Bridge Corrosion
Effectively applied industrial paint and coatings can eliminate corrosion and extend the life of bridges. Bridge painters who are certified Coating Application Specialists (CAS) have the training and experience to do the job right. FSN can furnish QP1 and QP2 certified industrial coating contractors, utilizing CAS certified workers that know how to prevent corrosion on bridges.
If you have questions about corrosion prevention for our trained and experienced bridge painters, contact us at (410) 564-5876 or [email protected].