April 28, 2016
When President Obama said, “Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure”,1 he was voicing the concerns of governments across the world charged with replacing the many roads and bridges constructed in the last century which are now crumbling.
The numbers are stark: 65% of America’s major roads are in ‘less than good condition’ and 25% of bridges require ‘significant repair or can’t handle today’s traffic’.2 In Germany, it is reported that over half of all autobahn bridges are urgently in need of repair. And in the UK, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association said in 2013 that the cost of infrastructure falling short of typical ‘developed economy standards’ amounted to £78 billion each year between 2000-10.
Most of us take for granted the infrastructure around us, and it is only when potholed highways, disintegrating bridges and decaying transit tunnels impact our daily commute, that we take notice.
Clearly, a long design life is desirable for infrastructure to minimise disruption as well as cost and nickel-containing constructions have a great track record. The Progreso Pier in Mexico is just one example of the benefits of nickel-containing stainless steel reinforcement bar (rebar) to enable infrastructure to withstand the test of time in harsh environments—over 70 years and counting in this case.
And now a new generation of mega projects is underway, including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge featured opposite and the new Champlain Bridge to be built across the St. Lawrence River in Canada (page 4). Both bridges will make use of the corrosion-resistant properties of nickel-containing rebar.
This edition of Nickel looks at how nickel-containing rebar and other materials are contributing to bridges and quality construction. The nickel is hidden but its role in preventing corrosion of infrastructure is vital if governments and citizens are to get value for money with long lasting, fit for purpose bridges, roads and buildings.
Editor, Nickel magazine
1 State of the Union address, January 2015
2 Report by US National Economic Council and President's Council of Economic Advisors, 2014