Fixing America’s crumbling bridges

Cracks heal themselves with the help of air and water

(CNN) – Nearly 60 thousand bridges across the country are in desperate need of repair. People are crossing over those bridges 204 million times a day.

We are talking about bridges that have major deterioration, cracks and other flaws that reduce its ability to support vehicles. There’s a Bi Partisan recognition that this is a problem…

68 thousand vehicles cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge between DC and Virginia every day. This is what drivers don’t see.

Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, of the National Park Service said, “Its just eroding and concrete is falling off.”

Rene Marsh, Aviation and Government Regulation Correspondent said, “We have to wear masks and gloves inside of the bridge because this paint is all lead paint.  This beam is helping to support the bridge, and if you take a look, it is badly corroded, and you see how thin that steel is, you see holes in the steel.”

The original support beams from 1932 have never been replaced.

Ray LaHood, Former Transportation Secretary said, “We’re like a Third World when it comes to infrastructure.”

Federal government spending on infrastructure has declined nine percent from 2003 – 2014. Every state has some degree of bad bridges that need to be repaired.

From Los Angeles where trees are growing out of cracks in this bridge to Chicago where netting is in place to protect drivers from falling concrete.

Ray LaHood: “The reason we have 57-thousand deficient bridges is because we have not made the investment as a national government.”

Former transportation secretary Ray LaHood blames congress for failing to raise the gas tax in 23 years . Which funds projects like bridges and roads.

Rene Marsh: “Have you been against raising the tax because its just bad politics?”

Bill Shuster, Chairman, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said, “The economy hasn’t great and to put a burden on the American people raising the gas tax doesn’t solve the long term funding problem.”

Rene Marsh: “As congress tries to figure out the long term solution, bridges are crumbling so what do we do right now?”

Bill Shuster: “Our bill the fast act that the president signed into law we put more dollars into focusing on the critical infrastructure.”

His republican colleague disagrees

Jim Renacci, of Ohio mentioned. “It’s funded for 5 years but we use 10 years’ worth of gimmicks to pay for it.  These are the kind of things that don’t make sense.”

Anthony foxx is the current head of the department of transportation.

Rene Marsh: “Isn’t everyone guilty I mean when Democrats were in control of Congress, this situation was what it is today, as well.”

Anthony Foxx, Transportation Secretary said, “I think that every year we go by, the challenge gets that much greater, and that’s why we don’t have another moment to waste.”

Researchers at the University of Michigan believe they may have a solution: a bendable concrete that can heal itself from cracks.

Proffesor. Victor Li, of University of Michigan said, “How about if we set our targets toward creating infrastructures that would last 100 years.”

Regular concrete can fail quickly and suddenly But professor victor li says, the bendable concrete can withstand a force hundreds of times more powerful.

This sped up video shows how it responds to pressure. Cracks heal themselves with the help of air and water. The technology lines this bridge in Michigan.  The hope is it could help already crumbling bridges like the memorial bridge near the nation’s capital.

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