Friday, January 17, 2014

On the Job with Caltrans: Underwater Bridge Inspectors

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake, which has many people recalling the collapse of the I-5/SR-14 connector and thinking about seismic retrofitting and bridge safety. Bridge safety is something we think about every day at Caltrans. We regularly inspect 24,000 bridges in California, 800 of which pass over water and require underwater bridge inspections so that we can assess the condition of the submerged portions of the bridge.

To complete the underwater inspections, Caltrans has a team of highly trained bridge inspectors who are also certified commercial hardhat divers. This is nothing like SCUBA diving for fun on vacation. These divers work in cold, murky water among sunken trucks and abandoned shopping carts painstakingly examining steel and concrete. It's a difficult, dangerous and necessary job that helps ensure the safety of the millions of motorists who use California's freeways and highways every day. 

Check out the video below to see the Caltrans dive team in action.