Rapid Replacement

Novel technology applied to replace aging bridge

America’s bridges received a grade of C+ on the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, put out by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Aging is a factor in this score — almost four in 10 of the 614,387 bridges in the U.S. are 50 years or older, and the average age keeps climbing.

But repair and rehabilitation are extremely costly — the most recent estimate puts the nation’s backlog of bridge rehabilitation needs at $123 billion.

In 2013, the Delaware Department of Transportation decided to explore the effectiveness of a novel rapid replacement approach for a two-lane bridge just north of the C&D canal that was nearing the end of its useful service life. They collaborated with researchers at the University of Delaware on design and construction of a new bridge, which continues to be monitored via a custom-designed instrumentation system.

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