Twelve hundred bridges... that’s currently the number of deficient bridges in the state of Alabama. I recently saw a report that Mississippi is dealing with over eight hundred deficient bridges.
While most of these bridges are on local roads, interstate highways are also experiencing the effects of aging roads/bridges. Infrastructure spending has been a hot topic for many years and debates about lack of funds and where funds should come from to repair infrastructure has been an even hotter topic.
While some states have opted for a bond initiative to secure funds, the problem with bonds is that they eventually need to be paid back. Alabama recently passed a gas tax increase which is receiving headlines as there was/is significant resistance to this approach. Some states, like Mississippi, are looking to lottery proceeds for help and in greater amounts some states are looking to offset costs with partnerships like P3. The P3 arrangements are partnerships between the government agency that is responsible for the project and a private enterprise set-up to control the bridge/roadway for a set amount of years before it reverts back to government ownership.
Nobody debates the NEED for replacement of our aging infrastructure. The debate ensues with what the solution should be to secure the necessary funding.
As businesses find it harder to ship products over increasingly bad roads/deficient bridges, this problem will have growing economic ramifications for the Gulf South region, as well as the rest of the country. We see the short life-cycle of timber bridges and recognize that this type of structure does not present a long term solution. We know that steel has been widely used across the country but has high on-going maintenance needs such as painting every few years.
The use of non-prestressed concrete products are far too short in spans to accommodate the current bridge designs. That leaves the obvious choice for a long-term solution that performs for the long haul. Prestressed precast concrete bridge components is the fix to our aging roadways/bridges. Couple the versatility and durability of prestressed precast bridge components with the experience of PCI certified plants/personnel and a tight quality control system and you have a product that exceeds our current design and fiscal demands and performs head and shoulders against any other option for the foreseeable future.