Two Virginia Tech infrastructure and engineering experts have discussed Monday morning’s bridge collapse in Pittsburgh as President Biden was set to visit the area to discuss the nation’s infrastructure.
“Despite the bipartisan infrastructure bill’s passage, there is still great need for the maintenance and upkeep of the country’s roads and bridges,” said Kevin Heaslip, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. “It will take time for the funding from the bill to flow to states and be allocated for projects. Despite a nearly unprecedented funding amount in the bill, there is need for additional and ongoing funding to modernize and repair our critical transportation infrastructure.”
Heaslip’s areas of expertise include transportation infrastructure and operations, transportation cybersecurity, urban transportation planning, and transportation automation and electrification.
Heaslip and Roberto Leon, the D.H. Burrows Professor of Construction Engineering in The Charles Edward Via, Jr., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, agree that the bridge in question appears to have been listed in poor condition prior to the collapse. Leon’s areas of expertise include forensic structural engineering, seismic behavior of bridges, reinforced concrete structures, and behavior and design of building materials, as well as experience investigating the causes of structural collapses.
Heaslip points to a 2018 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers that notes, “On average, Pennsylvania’s bridges are 15 years older than the national average and continue to be in need of repair and modernization. . . . Pennsylvania has more than double the national average of bridges rated in ‘poor’ condition.”