August 25, 2015

California and Arizona Bridges

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction center, this year’s El Nino event is “significant and strengthening" and may be as

El Niño and U.S. Infrastructure - The Need for Structural Repair

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, this year's El Niño event is intensifying, evident from various atmospheric and oceanic indicators, including rising sea surface temperatures. The NOAA's recent advisory report projects a "greater than 90% chance that El Niño will persist through the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2015-16 and around an 85% chance that it will extend into early spring 2016."

This year, the impact of El Niño has already become alarmingly clear. In late July 2015, an Interstate 10 bridge connecting California and Arizona tragically collapsed due to severe flooding. The incident underscores the urgent need for infrastructure repair in the United States and raises concerns of potential bridge and structure failures as El Niño intensifies. This bridge, aged 48 years, had passed a safety inspection just six months prior to the catastrophic event. The sudden, intense flooding triggered the collapse, prompting fears of similar incidents, as heavy rainfall is expected in the coming months.

In California, there are 25,406 bridges, while Arizona boasts 8,035. Alarmingly, approximately 1 in 10 bridges in both states are classified as structurally deficient, aligning with the national average. These bridges demand significant maintenance, rehabilitation, or replacement due to deterioration or damage. Furthermore, in California and Arizona, about 17% and 13% of bridges, respectively, are functionally obsolete, signifying they no longer meet current design codes. This data indicates that nearly 1 in 4 bridges in these states are deficient, emphasizing the urgent need to fortify them and bring them up to code standards.

Infrastructure repair and enhancement has been a top priority on the national agenda, and the outlook is promising. Advances in materials and construction methods provide a beacon of hope. In a steadfast effort to fortify infrastructure, prevent loss of life, and safeguard resources, HJ3 engineers innovative solutions to strengthen bridges and overpasses, effectively repairing deficient structures with cutting-edge composite solutions.

Key Statistics:

  • In Arizona:
  • 8,035 bridges
  • 256 are structurally deficient (9.91%)
  • 684 are functionally obsolete (12.82%)
  • 940 are deficient (22.73%)
  • 23.71% of the area of all bridges is deficient - 10.75% are structurally deficient
  • In California:
  • 25,406 bridges
  • 2,501 are structurally deficient (9.84%)
  • 4,306 are functionally obsolete (16.95%)
  • 6,807 are deficient (26.79%)
  • 34.61% of the area of all bridges is deficient - 11.33% are structurally deficient


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