CEE Faculty Featured in NPR Interview

January 10, 2023

In a recent article by Connecticut Public, our Dr. Arash Zaghi and Dr. Kay Wille discuss the problems that arise from the government constantly repairing old infrastructure such as the Gold Star Memorial Bridge. By pumping federal funding into patching up these structures' concrete, Connecticut would have to spend over $1.7 billion to properly maintain its bridges. Our professors comment that there are better methods of extending the lifespan of our bridges.

The following text is from Connecticut Public:

Arash Zaghi, associate professor of engineering at UConn, said ongoing maintenance amounts to patching an old system. The state fixes some bridges, and others deteriorate.

"It's not going to get better," Zaghi said. "It's not going to go away. It's always a catch-up game."

Connecticut faces issues that are unique to the Northeast. The de-icing salts used on roads and bridges during the winter are highly corrosive and can lead to infrastructure damage.

Kay Wille, professor of engineering at UConn who works alongside Zaghi, said there are other materials being introduced that can extend the service life of a bridge and are more sustainable.

"If it lasts, we're not talking about just 50 years. We might be talking about 100 or 500 years, and this becomes a significant cost savings," Wille said.

Zaghi and Wille are working with the state to research these methods and educating other states on these innovations.

Read the full article here.