Ensuring the safety of sites and longevity of assets is an ongoing challenge for today’s operation mangers. Here, members of our Structural Team explain how operators can, with an appropriate level of support and regular maintenance, ensure that bridge assets are safe, reliable, and efficient over their operating life.

Bridge two

Improve safety, increase efficiency, and reduce cost

There are a number of key factors that create a challenge for today’s operation managers. Clients regularly approach us for assistance in finding opportunities to improve the efficiency and performance of their plant or worksite. We understand that no matter the age of plant or site, the continual pressure to improve safety, increase efficiency, and reduce cost.

Extending the life of aging bridge assets

When it comes to extending the life of assets such as bridges, there are a number of factors to consider.

  • What is the existing condition of the bridge?
  • What stress is the bridge under and is it fit for purpose?
  • Does it need to be decommissioned entirely or can the bridge’s life cycle be expanded?

In most instances, there are many options for operations managers to expand the lifecycle of their bridge or assets.

Case Study – what to do with a bridge that can’t keep up?

Recently, a client operating a large iron ore facility in West Australia approached us to assist with designing a new bridge for their plant. The client was looking to upgrade their fleet of haul trucks to larger by increasing load capacities. Noting that this was going to exceed the capacity of exiting bridges on site, the client assumed that it needed to replace the existing bridges to cope with the extra stress loads.

We performed a preliminary assessment which included non-destructive testing and desktop assessments. Once the assessment was complete, we were able to advise the client of some mediation steps which allowed the existing bridges to be retained, advised suitability of loads and advise/specify project maximum loads. We were able to advise the client that the bridge was suitable for certain capacity loads and specify project loads, overall expanding the life of the bridge.

Our top tips to extend a bridge’s infrastructure

Our advice to operators is that there are so many ways to extend the life of assets, particularly bridges and crossings. Our top tips we share with clients looking at extending their bridge infrastructure include:

Tip 1 – Understand the load capacity of the asset

It’s important to understand the load capacity of bridges as well as the heavy plant required to use the asset. By understanding the capacity of a bridge, you can make the necessary modifications to improve or extent its usage.

Tip 2 – Perform yearly assessments

Yearly assessment by qualified engineers will ensure that bridge assets are performing adequately, and any modifications or recommendations to extend the life of the bridge can be implemented. It is also important to ensure that any crashes or impacts that may have occurred are assessed for damage to the structure of the bridge.

Tip 3 – Regular maintenance with current maintenance records

A maintenance strategy provides a structured approach to defining potential and functional failures and their associated risk-cost effective maintenance tasks. Tetra Tech Proteus can help clients build a maintenance schedule to work in conjunction with the yearly assessments. This assures that the necessary maintenance works are performed while considering the associated risks and the organisation’s bottom line.

For further information contact our East Coast Structural Engineering Lead Evan McDowell on +61 07 3239 9308.

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