Preventive Maintenance: Fixing What Ain't Broke

by Rita Robison, Associate Editor; Civil Engineering,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 9, Pg. 67-69

Document Type: Feature article


Municipalities are often caught in the cycle of built-neglect-rebuild. For bridges, the solution is preventive maintenance: keep the bridges clean and painted, and they'll last forever. New York City has adopted this strategy with a program that will have all 1,424 bridges in first class shape by the year 2000. Costs are projected at $3 billion in capital funds and nearly $60 million in maintenance funds for each of the next 10 years. A newly appointed Bureau of Bridges will be fully funded within four years. In the first year, 12 bridges have been reopened, new inspectors hired and underwater inspections completed. It will cost the city about 10 times more in annual maintenance, but by 2000 total savings will be about one quarter of a billion dollars a year. The city's Department of Transportation made the preventive maintenance plan with the help of a consulting consortium made up of civil engineering professors from the local universities.

Subject Headings: Bridges | Maintenance | Bridge management | Consulting services | Local government | Construction costs | Assets | Inspection | New York City | New York | United States

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