Senior bridge engineer calls for better maintenance focus

June 10 2015  

Senior bridge engineer calls for better maintenance focus
Bridge designers must pay more attention to future maintenance needs, according to the Forth Road Bridge’s chief engineer Barry Colford who addressed a conference in London on Friday.
He told delegates to the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Bridges 2015 event: “At an early stage of procurement the requirements for inspection and maintenance have to be considered. We are very good these days at constructability, but we are not that great about designing for maintenance or inspection. We have a long way to go in that respect.”
During the design of a bridge an engineer must make sure, he added, that components such as bearings and joints can be inspected, are accessible and can be replaced without disrupting traffic.
Mr Colford went on to say that if the engineer or contractor involved at the design stage is not responsible for carrying out future maintenance they are unlikely to prioritise inspection requirements.
He added that more bridge inspectors are needed to check for problems on large structures and is pleased that the UK Bridges Board is working to introduce a suitable training programme.
And, he said, when it comes to large bridges future maintenance costs are often not accurately predicted. “I don’t think the engineers who designed the Forth Road Bridge in the 1950s and 60s would ever have thought that £259M would be spent on maintaining and operating the bridge.”

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