Examining Access Road Construction

Shoring systems

Access road construction is often necessary for building contractors to do their work. Temporary bridge construction, in particular, is often necessary to ensure the safety of drivers. Contractors also need to make room for other equipment, such as shoring systems, a temporary walking bridge, and trench box rental.

The federal government also plays a role in access road construction. According to research by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), it is estimated that officials would need to budget more than $20 billion annually in order to decrease the bridge deficiency backlog by 2028. Currently, more than 600,000 bridges exist in the United States. And, while there is high projection for bridge and infrastructure spending, highway construction spending has grown significantly in recent years. For example, in 2015, the United States spent nearly 90 billion on highway and access road construction. Overall, U.S. spending is expected to grow to nearly $100 billion by 2020, according to research.

Safety is key when it comes to access road construction for both contractors and passengers. More than 200 million trips are taken across structurally deficient bridges in most of the U.S. metropolitan areas. Research also indicates that at least one in nine of bridges in the United States is deficient. The average age of the country’s more than 600,000 bridges is 42 years old.

Often, road contractors work during night hours so as to avoid any potential traffic jams during busier periods of the day. According to the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, most drivers also preferred that road construction occurred at night when there are likely to be fewer people travelling.

OSHA has also instituted some guidelines to protect building and highway contractors. For instance, safe access to ladders, ramps, and other ways to enter and exit are a must when working in trenches 4 feet or deeper. These access road construction devices must also be within 25 feet of workers on-site. As defined by OSHA, an excavation is any man-made cut, trench, cavity, or depression formed by removing large amounts of dirt, while a trench is an underground excavation that’s no wider than 15 feet deep.

Truss bridges are among the more popular bridge designs that often need restructuring upon aging. These bridges are made up of diagonal mesh posts that hang above the bridge. Common truss bridge designs include king posts and queen posts. King posts consist of two diagonal posts and a single vertical post, while queen posts are constructed with two diagonal posts along with horizontal and vertical posts that connect each other at the top of the bridge.

What are some ways to make road construction zones safe for contractors and drivers? Share in the comments below.

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