The transportation infrastructure in the United States is in a deteriorated state, and many critical structures are approaching or even exceeding their functional lives. While unfortunate, this is not unexpected given that the interstate highway system (initiated in 1965, and covering more than 48 000 miles of roadway with more than 55 000 bridges throughout the United States) is rapidly aging. In the northern parts of the United States, these structures have experienced prolonged exposure to deicing salts, in some cases for the better part of 50 years. Even with rehabilitation efforts (such as low permeability deck overlays), or adoption of deck-protection technologies in new construction (such as epoxy-coated or galvanized reinforcement), deterioration of these structures is expected and in some cases unavoidable, particularly in extreme weather environments. As these systems continue to degrade, significant resources will need to be allocated to restore the condition of these facilities to ensure safe and reliable use. Regular, targeted inspections incorporating hands-on field investigations and appropriately selected nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods are of vital importance in developing appropriate and cost-effective maintenance and repair programs for civil infrastructure.
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