The phrase “America’s crumbling infrastructure” has been said over and over again the past few years. It’s why we’ve seen such a large uptick in bridge demolitions, a rise in innovative processes to reduce the time it takes to replace bridges, and the reason for President Trump’s emphasis on spending $1 trillion over the next 10 years to fix them.
But where are all the bridges? Thanks to help the National Bridge Inventory, the Washington Post was able to grab data from their latest update and place all of the structurally deficient bridges onto an interactive map. The National Bridge Inventory places poorly performing bridges into 2 categories: functionally obsolete and structurally deficient. Functionally obsolete bridges may or may not be structurally sound, but underperform in other ways, like not having enough lanes or the lack of an emergency shoulder. Structurally deficient bridges are those “that have one or more structural defects that require attention.”
The National Bridge Inventory data states that more than 130,000 bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. According to USA Today, 55,710 bridges were considered structurally deficient in 2016, which is actually down slightly as compared to 2015. USA Today reported that the top five states with the most structurally deficient bridges are Iowa (4,968), Pennsylvania (4,506), Oklahoma (3,460), Missouri (3,195), and Nebraska (2,361).
Bridges are graded based upon their overall sufficiency scores, and the Washington Post reported that the bridges with the lowest sufficiency scores will be prioritized for federal financing. Because the bridge data is only current through 2015, there are still a lot of bridges on the list that have already been demolished, like the Washita River Bridge in Oklahoma.
Full Story: How many structurally deficient bridges are in your county? | The Washington Post
Full Story: Nearly 56,000 bridges called structurally deficient | USA Today
Structural iron and steel workers often work from great heights when installing the structural and reinforcing steel and iron on buildings, bridges, and other structures. From 2016 to 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects overall employment of ironworkers to grow 13%, which is higher than the average growth rate of all industries. That's good news if you're currently and iron worker or about to become one.
With that growth assumption in mind, let's take a look at how much steel and iron workers are currently being paid in each state.
Back in September, OSHA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would extend the deadline for crane operator certification requirements. Although OSHA 1926.1427 has required crane operators to receive certain certifications to be able to operate the machines since 2010, actual enforcement of that rule has been delayed several times.
Drywall, gypsum, sheet rock, wall board, or whatever you call it, has to be installed by someone, so who better than a drywall installer? Some drywallers install the board and also tape and mud the joints, but others only hang the board.
When sanding, drywallers are exposed to a lot of dust, including silica in some cases, which they need to be protected from. The Center for Disease Control suggests using a vaccuum sander or pole sanding to reduce worker's exposure to harmful dust particles
Roofers have one of the most uncomfortable jobs on any construction site, especially when installing a dark roofing material. A traditional black roof, either asphalt shingles or EPDM, can be up to 50 degrees warmer than the surrounding temperatures.
Having said that, let's take a look at how they're paid in each state...
The Netherlands has a ton of bridges, especially pedestrian and biking bridges, thanks to its abundant system of canals. Perhaps because of that, they have become a leader in 3D printing technology when it comes to bridges.
Painters are typically one of the last subcontractors on any construction site, who do their best to beautify the drywall with the colors of the architect's or interior designer's choosing. Some painters are also responsible for mudding drywall, patching holes, sanding, and caulking.
Let's take a look at how an average painter's hourly wage compares in each state...
Just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a new law requiring at least 40 hours of safety training for all 185,000 of the city’s construction workers, a partial roof collapse at a Brooklyn construction site left 6 workers injured, 2 of them serious.
Project managers and supervisors are responsible for keeping their employees safe and the court system has recently shown that they take that responsibility very seriously. When supervisors act in a negligent manner and people get hurt or killed, they should be held liable.
In doing the research for this analysis, I learned something interesting about the plumbing profession. The term "plumber" comes from the Latin word "plumbum," which means lead. Seems fitting in a profession, fairly or unfairly, stereotyped for exposed butt cracks.
In Roman times, plumbers often worked with lead for conduits, drain pipes, and making baths. Plumbers now work with a variety of different materials, including copper, PVC, ductile iron, among others.
It seems like every month there’s a new robot being debuted for the construction industry, with the promise of reducing costs and improving productivity and safety. There are robots for laying brick and block, placing concrete, and even self-driving mining trucks. The most recent robot to hit the job site is Built Robotics’ Autonomous Track Loader (ATL).