Rural infrastructure and transportation needs were a focus at a recent Agribusiness Council of Indiana regional meeting. Ed Ebert from the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance says the ability of the farmer to get grain from the farm to its destination in a timely and efficient manner is critical and should not be overlooked. He says bridges throughout the state are an area of concern.
“If you look at the statistics today, about one out of six bridges out in the rural areas of our state right now are either in need of replacement or upgrades to handle the loads that are common now in modern agriculture. Whether it’s a semi or larger tractors and equipment.”
Ebert says many rural bridges may be rated for far less weight than what it can actually support, meaning many farmers have to actively avoid those bridges to deliver their grain. But Ebert says new technology can assist local governments in making those determinations.
“The technology that we’re working with, in conjunction with Indiana LTAP (Local Technical Assistance Program) at Purdue University, is a bridge testing system that uses gauges and known weights transiting across the bridge to really interview the bridge to ask it, based on the load going across it and the structure of the bridge, what that bridge is truly capable of safely handling.
Ebert wants to let local officials know that this technology is available.
“We are attempting to promote this technology, so we can see broader scale adoption because it’s a real efficiency issue for local governments.”
If you have a bridge near you that you wish could be tested, you or your local official can contact Ebert at firstname.lastname@example.org.