Have you ever driven by a construction site on a highway, railway bridge or or access road? This types of construction can feel like a nuisance when we?re trying to take our normal paths every day. Whether we?re heading to work, the grocery store, school or to run some errands, any type of construction can put a dent in our plans. Therefore, you?ve probably never stopped to really look at the construction site and to observe the safety protocols or excavation support methods the construction crew follows to make sure the site is safe and secure. Without excavation support method and short term solutions for driving near construction, these types of construction sites could cause a lot more issues in your day-to-day travel.
Sometimes it feels like road construction is happening around all the time. But, it happens so that we can have safe roadways to get where we need to go quicker and more efficiently. On highways and road construction alone in 2015, the United States spent 90 billion dollars. By 2020, that number is expected to increase to 99.4 billion dollars. Without such an investment, roads would be closed down or inefficient to drive on, and we would have to resort to other temporary road usage.
When we think about bridges, we probably don?t realize that different types of bridges require construction, too. Currently, there are 607, 380 bridges in the United States. The average age of these bridges is 42 years old, and one in nine of these bridges are deemed structurally deficient to drive across. That means each day there are two hundred million trips taken across bridges that are deficient across 102 large metropolitan areas. This is another reason why it is important to stand behind the need for construction to make bridges and roadways safe for all drivers.
There are plenty of rules set in place to make sure construction crews keep sites safe and secure. One requirement is the use of excavation support methods. In construction, excavation is defined as earth removal like a man-made cut, a cavity or a depression in the surface of the earth. There are also trenches which are deeper than they are wide.
Some excavation support methods that are used are making sure to pile excavated soil in certain ways and in certain places. For instance, all piles must be two feets away from the trenches. This keeps the process efficient so there isn?t soil falling into the excavation that is being dug. By using such excavation support methods, construction can move right along so that there is less interference in the timeline to complete the construction project.
When digging trenches, there are other protective systems and sometimes even a trench shield that must be set in place depending on how deep the trench is. If they are deeper than 20 feet, a registered professional engineer is required to design the protective system for the trench. Additionally, it is required by the OSHA that excavations have safe access for construction workers. So, ladders, steps and ramps are used for excavations that are four feet or deeper. The rule goes so far as to say these items must be within 25 feet of the workers at all times.
Given that eight out of 10 drivers stated they prefer when construction takes place during off-peak hours or at night, it is clearly important to the public that construction crews are both safe and efficient when completing their projects.
How do you feel about construction on roadways and bridges and the use of excavation support methods? Let us know in the comments if you have ever experienced road construction that was completed safely and quickly.