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One-third of bridges in the United States need fixing. Here’s how to do that without wreaking havoc on supplychains and commuters

This aerial view shows demolition crews working to finish removing the Fairfield Avenue bridge over Interstate 95, Saturday, May 4, 2024 in Norwalk, Conn. Crews are expected to finish removing the bridge by Sunday morning, and road repairs will be made. The tanker truck burst into flames under the overpass after colliding with two other vehicles Thursday. The cause remains under investigation.  (Kevin Coughlin / All Island Aerial via AP)
image of aerial view showing demolition crews working to finish removing the Fairfield Avenue bridge over Interstate 95, Saturday, May 4, 2024 in Norwalk, Conn. Crews are expected to finish removing the bridge by Sunday morning, and road repairs will be made. The tanker truck burst into flames under the overpass after colliding with two other vehicles Thursday. The cause remains under investigation.

When the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in Baltimore, it was a disaster not only for the sheer amount of destruction, but because the accident prevented access to one of the busiest ports in the U.S. It was a similar scenario in Rhode Island when the Washington Bridge was shut down suddenly in December due to structural deficiencies. The closure not only caused traffic delays, but heavily impacted local businesses. In Connecticut, a recent highway fire destroyed a bridge which led to temporary local schools closures due to the subsequent traffic. 

Whether it’s a closure from an accident or repairs, bridge shutdowns can cause a lot of issues for communities, and these traffic and economic headaches may be a preview of what’s to come. Over a third of bridges in the United States need some kind of major repair or replacement, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association

This means our infrastructure needs to become more resilient to deal with closures, said Serena Alexander, an associate professor in civil and environmental engineering and public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern University. Alexander said recent investments in bridge and road maintenance—and transportation infrastructure—have helped, but there’s still much work to be done.

Read more at Northeastern Global News.

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