- Case in Point: In August 2007, a bridge supporting one of the busiest freeways in Minnesota unexpectedly collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145 more. (2)
Doug Thaler, president of Infrastructure Preservation Corporation (IPC), says the Interstate 35W bridge disaster served as a wake-up call to the country’s deteriorating infrastructure. More than $100 million was ultimately paid out by the state and two contractors to survivors and families of the dead.
Per Thaler, bridge disasters have not been uncommon during the past 50 years:
- In 1980, 35 people died when a freighter rammed one of the support columns of Tampa Bay’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
- In 1967, 32 vehicles plunged into the freezing Ohio River when the Silver Bridge between Point Pleasant, WV and Gallipolis, OH collapsed, taking the lives of 46 people—a 0.1-inch defect in a metal bar was indicated to be at fault. (3)
Thaler says outdated infrastructure inspection methods are the cause of these catastrophic events. He points to new geophysical nondestructive inspection technology, leveraged through robotic systems as the solution to saving countless lives—as well as billions in repairs—by isolating structural faults before they become serious issues.
“Traditional infrastructure inspection methods are over 50 years old, outdated, manual in nature and often deliver subjective results. There are new solutions that provide quantitative data, allowing departments of transportation (DOTs) to better allocate existing maintenance budgets.” – Thaler
Robotic systems leverage geophysical nondestructive technology (NDT) protocols to, in effect, x-ray concrete and other infrastructure to identify early-stage deterioration, enabling recommendation of repairs before deterioration spreads and compromises the structure’s ability to carry its design loads. Proper diagnosis allows planning and repair of early-stage deterioration, which is also financially preferable, in that it prolongs infrastructure service life expectancy.
IPC’s solutions, now patented or in patent pending status, constitute the first commercially viable robotic inspection methods in the industry. These technologies produce modern archived, quantitative inspection data that can help infrastructure asset managers to better
Infrastructure Preservation Corporation (IPC) is a robotics manufacturer and professional services engineering company that delivers infrastructure inspection services using reliable and accurate imaging based on geophysical nondestructive testing (NDT) and robotic technologies.