One of the more pressing problems facing the United States is the rapidly deteriorating infrastructure. From crumbling buildings to pothole-ridden roads, America requires a dramatic face lift to bolster the foundation for economic growth. Perhaps no other part of the declining infrastructure has more issues than the country’s myriad bridges. From the Golden Gate Bridge to bridges that span a mere 50 feet, transportation officials have clearly stated the time has come to refurbish a vital component of the American transportation system.
A Sense of Urgency
The impetus to design and construct a new generation of bridges gained additional momentum during a recent confab held at Lawrence Technological University (LTU). Transportation officials from all over the country attended a high-profile gathering to discuss the latest technological advances for building bridges to replace the decaying structures that span the nation’s waterways.
Lawrence Tech provided the perfect backdrop for engineers and government officials to devise ways to construct a bridge superstructure system that provides service for more than 100 years. The underlying theme of the Lawrence Tech Engineering sponsored event was to create a bridge superstructure system that requires less maintenance and fewer construction projects that impede economic growth.
Collaboration between the private and public sectors involves engineers from each sector conducting tests on building stronger bridge materials. One private sector team of researchers developed and tested pre-stressing non-corrosive cables and a new mix of super performance concrete. The researchers want to use the materials in a soon to be unveiled bridge design that matches the quality of the federal government’s Accelerated Bridge Construction program.
The team of researchers demonstrated the strength of the new materials during the Lawrence Tech Engineering conference. Bridge beams received increasing amounts of pressure until they bent or cracked. Other tests include the comparing a pre-stressed decked bulb-T bridge design to the traditional bridge design that comprises side-by-side box beams that states such as Michigan have used over the past 50 years.
Bridges constructed with the traditional side-by-side box beam design have reached the end of their usefulness. Steel corrosion caused by the salt used to improve winter driving conditions, combined with frigid winter weather, place the box beams in jeopardy of collapsing. In 2007, the bridge that collapsed on Interstate 35W just outside of the Twin Cities reportedly fell because of steel corrosion caused by years of salt and winter weather.
LTU Online Master in Engineering
The plan to replace most of the nation’s declining bridges should markedly improve the transportation system. New bridges eliminate most of the bottlenecks that delay shipments of goods and thus, deprive businesses of revenue. Another implication of the bridge renovation plan directly impacts schools that offer an online Master in Engineering, such as Lawrence Tech University. The demand for skilled engineers should reach levels close to the demand for skilled labor during the public works projects of the 1930s.
According to U.S. News and World Report, LTU’s College of Engineering perennially ranks in the top 40 of all online engineering programs nationwide. Earning an LTU online engineering degree provides managerial skills designed to help you to manage engineering teams, like those working on complex bridge construction projects that span several years. You can work a full-time job in the field and still have time to work in coursework from either the online Master’s in Engineering Management or the online Master of Science in Industrial Engineering.