Imaging a safer future - No 17 - November 2019

Nanfangao Bridge Collapse in Taiwan

Understanding the Fatal Flaws to Create a Better Future


This fatal collapse struck the news in October, calling for a re-evaluation of inspection and maintenance practices that failed to preserve structural integrity. A month later, some engineering review has brought forth some explanations as to what went wrong.

The day prior to the collapse, the 20-year-old bridge was subjected to a typhoon and a 3.8 magnitude earthquake. Initial investigations point to corrosion of suspension and main stay cables, warping of expansion joints, and perhaps a stretching of the intended maximum load capacity. Water, especially saline, can be harmful when exposed to the cables, and seems to experts who are involved in the investigation to be the most likely cause. Reports of infrequent inspection and questions into the depth of inspection were noted.

Our roots in Japan have familiarized us with the devastating effects of natural disasters on civil structures. Strategic review of the numerous disasters which NEXCO-West highways, tunnels, and bridges have weathered emphasize the need to perform immediate reactionary inspection alongside periodic, in-depth ones. It is not an easy task to obtain accurate and telling data about these structures in a timely manner, but rapid NDE methods make this task less daunting. Higher storm surges and hurricanes impacted by the climate crisis are getting stronger in the US as well and studies are being conducted to make future infrastructure more resilient. We will insistently and diligently continue our efforts to obtain structural evaluation data so that history like Nanfangao does not repeat itself, and inspectors can provide better insights into critical structure states.

NEXCO Presents in IRF Global R2T Conference

Nexco-West USA enters Las Vegas


The International Road Federation (IRF) provides resources for roadway structural owners globally. Officials, practitioners, and researchers gather from all parts of the world at this conference to share their experiential knowledge. As a proud member of IRF, NEXCO contributes yearly to this prestigious event by exhibiting and presenting on NDE industry topics.

Our CEO and President, Masato Matsumoto, presented on the application of our DTSS system to various bridge decks in the Bridge Maintenance Strategy session. DOT officials and practitioners from multiple states asked questions about the system and the results of its applications (see our projects page for more details).

We saw many familiar faces visit our booth and were able to further the continuing dialogue on improving inspection practices for roads, bridges, and more. For information about IRF and our activities during the events, visit the link below.

NEXCO - West USA, Inc.
8300 Boone Blvd., Suite260
Tysons Corner, VA, 22182