The Problem of the Deplorable Current State of New York's Bridges and the Urgent Need to Solve It

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New York City is encountering an unusual juncture of a growing phenomenon which is the widespread decay of bridge infrastructures. Many bridges in New York City have been constructed for 50 years or more, and they are now approaching or exceeding its originally intended design life. There was an overlooked in the designs of the bridges in New York City when the bridges were first built.

There was an inability and difficulty in forecasting the future usage such as traffic flow. Many bridges were unable to sustain such overloading due to heavy usage and thus increasing the stress and strain on the structures. In addition, the materials used for building these bridges were not up to present-day standards. Such materials have been exposed to the environment for many decades and never reach a moment of ‘rest’. As such, the long-term exposure to various chemical compounds, such as saltwater and sulfurous chemicals, leads to the corrosion and fatigue of the materials which affects the micro- and nanostructure of the materials and thus its performance. In view of the aging bridge infrastructures, a suitable and reliable technology is required to monitor and maintain the health of these aging bridges to ensure it remains sustainable and in good shape for present-day usage. New York City’s bridges require high levels of funding in order to achieve and maintain a state of good repair.

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Between 1970s to 1990s, the New York City’s transportation budget was insufficient to maintain the bridge infrastructures adequately over the years. In the 1970s, the fiscal crisis-hit city sowed the seeds of neglecting on the importance of future bridges maintenance. The city government found it more cost effective to let the bridge conditions to decline rather than spending money from the already strained budgets to maintain them properly. As such, the bridges did not receive any consistent long-term preventive maintenance and such negligence resulted in serious problems. In 1981, a corroded stay cable on the Brooklyn Bridge snapped and killed a pedestrian. This incident raised concerns about the hazards of poor maintenance. Subsequently, the city government changed course and began to pump in investments and funds to restore these bridges.

Despite efforts in funding to improve the condition of the bridges, in the recent years, the spending on maintaining the city’s bridges may be reduced further due to fiscal constraints such as rising debt, health care costs and the increment cost of bridge improvements. Therefore, there is a need to have a cost-effective technology that is within the budget to maintain and sustain these bridges. With a cost-effective technology, it will ensure that maintenance would not be restricted due to budget restraint in the future.

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The Problem of the Deplorable Current State of New York’s Bridges and the Urgent Need to Solve It. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“The Problem of the Deplorable Current State of New York’s Bridges and the Urgent Need to Solve It.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
The Problem of the Deplorable Current State of New York’s Bridges and the Urgent Need to Solve It. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
The Problem of the Deplorable Current State of New York’s Bridges and the Urgent Need to Solve It [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from:

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