Infrastructure Development and Repair in the United States

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Infrastructure Development and Repair in the United States

Civil engineers are the lynchpin that holds modern society together. They are the scientists who keep utility infrastructures running. The American Society of Civil Engineers helps create the guidelines that shape the engineering profession. Everyday, these engineers maintain the systems that society relies on for their existence. Due to society’s heavy reliance on utility infrastructure, it is increasingly difficult to keep up with system demands; however, civil engineers keep these systems functioning in the United States and around the world.

United States Infrastructure Development

Infrastructure development provides necessary utilities to municipal and national populations. Engineers specialize in planning, building, retrofitting and maintaining these man-made structures. Infrastructure provides vital services such as electricity, water management, communications and transportation routes. These services help spur economic growth. Without them, people cannot function and businesses cannot exploit natural resources. United States engineers are the gatekeepers that watch over the complex systems that provide people with these needed utilities. Despite the relative comfort that most Americans live in, infrastructure in the country is in poor condition.

The ASCE

The American Society of Civil Engineers spearheads engineering efforts worldwide. The organization creates policies designed to protect the public and the environment. They work to standardize every existing engineering discipline and also lead special initiatives to serve society. The group shapes the civil engineering practice and helps direct the work that civil engineers conduct around the world. It also serves as a clearing house that helps engineers share their discoveries.

Civil Engineers in Action

Civil engineers perform work before, during and after structure assembly. Their work begins with an in-depth look at the causes and solutions to a problem. Once the engineers have solidified their goals, they research the most effective solution sites. They then customize and design the new structures. Once they have completed the plans, the engineers oversee the project builds. Upon project completion, engineers continue to monitor and repair the structures for their entire lifecycle. Additionally, engineers conduct research to uncover what infrastructures society needs and how to provide those utilities.

The State of American Infrastructure

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) rates the United States infrastructure every four years. In the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the civil engineering board rated the infrastructure poorly. The board cites that United States infrastructure fairs poorly in utility volume, wear, financing, allocation, daily use and repair, safety, durability and modernization. This is not in comparison to other infrastructure systems; the report card values these assessments based on societal need.

There is one bright spot on America’s infrastructure report card. Due to green initiatives, United States solid waste infrastructure is very near full operational efficiency. The ASCE strongly urges the government to invest more in other important services, and legislators are doing what they can to meet these needs. Regardless of the outcome of these suggestions, the United States needs engineers to repair and upgrade existing infrastructure on an ongoing basis.

Better Water for Iowa

Mankind’s most precious utility, water, needs an upgrade. The ASCE forecasts that United States water utility infrastructure is nearing obsolescence. The organization cites frequent water main ruptures. Resolving this issue can eliminate water quality problems that have plagued Iowa residents. Iowa governor Terry Brandstad is working on an initiative that can provide $4.7 billion to help the State repair its water utility infrastructure. The governor shaped the proposal in response to Iowa resident’s dissatisfaction and manages the initiative through the state’s Water Future Task Force.

Connecting to the Future

The ASCE estimates that Americans commute across structurally unsound bridges over two hundred million times a day. The Federal Highway Administration suggests that it will cost over $20 billion a year to remedy this issue by 2028. This is in contrast to the $12.8 billion annual budget currently earmarked for United States bridge infrastructure. Mike Pence, the Indiana state governor, recognized that the state’s bridge infrastructure ranks high compared to other US bridge systems; however, the governor states that Indiana’s bridges still need a large cash infusion to keep them safe and beneficial. He goes on to state that investing in the already healthy bridge system can spur area economic growth for the foreseeable future.

Opening up Commerce Routes

Congestion is a major engineering challenge in almost half the country. Analysts suggest that traffic jams cost the American economy $101 billion in time and fuel each year. The federal government has eased this problem with a $91 billion investment in road infrastructure; however, the ASCE contends that this investment, while producing short-term results, is not enough to remedy this issue indefinitely. Kentucky governor Matt Bevin is addressing this issue in his state by tapping into the federal Road Fund. The governor notes that many Kentucky bridges and the state’s main highway system are due for upgrades. As with all other civil planners, the governor recognizes how important road infrastructure is to regional growth and public utility.

Engineers Without Borders USA

United States residents are fortunate. Although the ASCE rates the country’s infrastructure poorly, the system is functional and allows Americans to live well. Other countries are not as privileged. Their infrastructure can rate anywhere from unhealthy for the population to nonexistent. In underdeveloped regions, Engineers Without Boarders USA volunteers to help various populations meet their utility needs. The group works on engineering projects such as installing solar energy systems and digging wells to provide drinkable water. The organization seeks to provide environmentally friendly basic utility solutions to every underserved community in the world.

In America, civil engineers work to maintain the utility infrastructures that society relies on to survive. These scientists plan, build and maintain these systems continually. The American Society of Civil Engineers regulates the engineering industry. Maintaining public utility infrastructure is a never-ending challenge, and civil engineers in the United States, and around the world, rise to meet this challenge daily.

Learn More

Civil engineers play a crucial role in engineering the structural solutions of tomorrow and plan, design, construct, and operate the infrastructure essential to our modern lives. As a student in the online Master of Science in Civil Engineering program, you can enhance your quantitative decision-making skills and learn how to justify managerial decisions with data. You will also explore the capabilities of modern management technologies and discover how to successfully leverage these tools to maximize efficiencies in your projects and on your teams.

Sources

http://bafuture.org/2016-state-state-infrastructure-mentions
http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/grades
http://www.ewb-usa.org/our-story/about-us/
http://www.britannica.com/technology/civil-engineering
http://www.asce.org/about_asce/
https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/economic-growth-and-trade/infrastructure