Old railroad flatcars are being used as bridges in many states, but thepractice isn’t popular in Iowa. Researchers at Iowa State University arestudying the use of those railroad cars as an alternative to traditionalbridges, and have found they’re safe and inexpensive.I-S-U civil engineering professor Wayne Klaiber (KLY-bur) says retiredrailroad flatcars may cost 10-thousand dollars each while a traditionalbridge may run 100-thousand. Klaiber says there’s only one flatcar beingused for a bridge in Iowa — and it’s in rural Tama County.He says most community leaders don’t opt for the railroad flatcar bridges asthey simply aren’t attractive. Klaiber says railroad flatcars are durable asbridges, but they aren’t for high-traffic areas.Klaiber says it’s something many Iowa communities should consider as theystruggle to rebuild after several bouts with flooding.
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