The Rhode Island Department of Transportation showed off its new fleet of six custom-built tanker trucks May 19 and May 20; trucks outfitted with a series of high pressure water nozzles that allow a driver/operator to clean the sides and deck of a bridge in a moving operation, generally at 5 to 10 mph. On average, RIDOT said the trucks are capable of cleaning five to six bridges a day, depending on their size, and will help "significantly reduce" the time needed to close a travel lane for such maintenance work – noting that it is responsible for maintaining 1,179 bridges across the Ocean state.
"Not only are we rebuilding Rhode Island's transportation system, we are literally rebuilding RIDOT itself," noted Peter Alviti, Jr. the agency's director, in a statement. "For years, the size of our maintenance staff has dwindled, and we weren't making the investments we needed to give them the right tools for the job. Now we're investing in new technology, increasing our staff, and making sure we're well-equipped to properly maintain our roads and bridges."
For example, in addition to those six "unique" bridge washing trucks (seen at left), Alviti said RIDOT also purchased four bucket trucks fitted with high-pressure "wands" so workers can clean the underside of bridges.
The $2 million investment for all 10 of those vehicles is part of $26 million in maintenance equipment purchases recently made by RIDOT to both expand its fleet as well as replace outdated or inefficient older units.
The agency said the chassis of its six new bridge washing trucks – which will primarily work to remove salt and sand "debris" from bridges to prevent corrosion – are manufactured by Volvo Trucks North America, with the cleaning apparatus and storage tanks built by Reed Systems Products, a transportation maintenance specialty company based in upstate New York.
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