How Transport Companies Can Solve Load Rating Problems on Bridges

- During February’s SC&RA 2020 Specialized Transportation Symposium, Peter Vanderzee, of LifeSpan Technologies, and John Caya, of 5C Strategy, LLC, delivered a presentation titled “How Accuracy in Measurement Gives You an Advantage.” One component of the session spotlighted how new sensor technology is changing the game as it opens up more bridges to over size and overweight (OS/OW) transportation.

Transport companies can solve load rating problems by communicating with state DOT and local bridge owners. Vanderzee explained: “Step one is getting a DOT or local owner to accept that the technology works. Step two is getting them to commit to a pilot project with several bridges that demonstrates how effective the technology can be. Step three is getting them to design and operate a long-term, full-scale programme to reduce the number of posted bridges in their state or locale. Step four is executing that long-term program, substantially reducing the number of problematic bridges and then reaping the financial benefits for their taxpayers.”

Caya also pointed out that it starts at ground level. “I think for OS/OW or over-the-road companies, it comes down to how well new technology will improve ‘my workflows, my current methodologies and my company overall.’ Being open to and embracing technology that can replace more time-consuming and expensive manual methods is a great opportunity for companies. The same workflows can still be used, but they are streamlined and improved upon. In a relatively short time, there is significant cost savings and return on investment.”

As for what SC&RA members can do right now to effect the change he thinks is needed, Vanderzee urges members to, “…call or write your state DOT commissioner; ask why they aren’t deploying this technology across the state in a long-term program. Tell them it’s time to adopt proven technology. Offer to help a state DOT purchase one or more sensor kits (with training). A ten-thousand-dollar grant covers almost half the cost for their first sensor kit. Call or write your state representative or senator and ask them to determine why the state DOT isn’t taking full advantage of this technology. Call or write to members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and ask them to incorporate incentives to use advanced condition assessment technologies into the next highway bill due to start this September.”

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