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Defects in Bridge Structures

Defects in bridge structures are common and can pose a significant threat to life and property. It is estimated that nearly 10% of bridges in the United States are classified as structurally deficient. That is approximately 60,000 structures which means deficient bridges are a problem that affects a considerable number of towns, cities, and communities.

Common Bridge Defects

Concrete bridge structures are susceptible to corrosion, carbonation, creep, shrinkage, water penetration, and alkali-silica reactions. One of the most common causes of damage to steel-reinforced concrete bridges is rebar corrosion. As the rebar begins to rust, it expands which facilitates further and faster deterioration of the bridge deck.

Delamination is another common bridge defect. As the steel rebar within the bridge corrodes, it can cause horizontal deck delamination. In most cases, this does not become apparent until structural failure occurs. Over time, it is this type of damage that can highlight irreversible deterioration of the bridge deck and can result in sudden collapse. 

Steel bridge structures are susceptible to similar types of damage, including corrosion and both low-cycle and high-cycle fatigue. Steel bridges may also develop cracks in elements and joints, as well as deficiencies within connections. They may also suffer permanent deformation such as buckling or bending when exposed to heavy loads or severe freeze/thaw cycles.

In addition to the bridge deck, the substructure can suffer significant damage to the foundation, abutment, piers, or retaining walls. Damage to these substructural elements can radiate throughout the structure and exacerbate damage to the deck. These types of damage can be caused by changing soil conditions, weather, and motor vehicle accidents.

Detection is Crucial

Prompt detection of bridge defects is crucial for preserving the structural integrity of the bridge deck and other structures. This includes routine visual inspections and monitoring of any potential deficiencies. However, current standards in the United States mean that most bridges are inspected only once every two years, and less than 12% are inspected annually. 

Other types of inspection/testing include condition surveys. These mildly destructive tests involve testing core samples to identify potential problems. In lieu of this type of testing for construction defects, non-destructive testing may include the use of the ground-penetrating radar, ultrasonic surface waves, or chain drag/hammer sounding. These tests can be used to monitor the structural integrity of the bridge and to track potential issues as time progresses.  

What Our Clients Say

My family and I are thankful to Maddox, Segerblom and Canepa for their assistance during a three year case regarding construction defects to our home. We are truly appreciative of their knowledge, determination and assistance during this process. They were always courteous, and available to answer any and all of our concerns and questions. Thank you for the wonderful resolution. Many thanks to you and your staff.

Frances Castelli

We used Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa to represent us in a legal suit re problems in construction on new properties that we purchased from a developer.

We were very pleased with the representation provided by this law firm. They were fully communicative, responsive to our questions and were very knowledgeable about the issues that required resolution. Even after we reached a resolution, they have been responsive in making sure to point us in the right direction for help with repairs that are required.

We would recommend them to others with similar issues that require legal help.

Atam & Margo Lalchandani

Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa did a FANTASTIC job in our construction defects case. I interacted with several people from their office throughout our 2 year litigation. Their staff is friendly, knowledgeable and always prompt about getting back to you when you have questions/comments/concerns. I especially enjoyed working with Darcy, Ardea, Eva, and Sandra. Being part of a lawsuit is no fun for anyone, but if you have to be a part of one, I can’t say enough positive things about this firm!

Victoria Fox

The law firm of Maddox, Segerblom, and Canepa were amazing to work with. They were thorough and always available for any questions we had. We worked a lot with Sandy who was always professional, friendly, always on time for appointments and just a great person to represent this firm. We have never been involved in a law suit before and they made it comfortable for us. We appreciate the hard work the lawyers and people who work for the firm did and would recommend them.

Becky Loudenburg
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