As I don't work in medicine, it's not as bad as it sounds. It's a good time to be involved in bridge rehabilitation in Alberta.
Today I'm going to show an example of a bridge foundation in poor condition. In Alberta, we had a raft of bridges built for decades with creosote treated timber substructures. Substructure consists of the piles and caps - the primary load carrying members.
This is a bridge made completely of timber members. The timber cap is a 12"x12" piece of timber, laid across the timber piles. This cap isn't in too bad of shape - the discoloration is mostly from dirty water seeping through from the gravel road above.
The next cap is much, much worse. Really, a 12x12 piece of timber shouldn't look like a rotten melon. When the flat face is bulging outwards, it's a good sign that there is a lot of rot inside the cap.
The third photo shows the same cap looking up at the bottom. Really - timber shouldn't crush in 4 to 5 inches at the pile locations.
The last photo shows the replacement timber caps readied for installation. 'Shiny' new treated timber caps ready to be installed, so that the bridge can be opened to traffic again. Oh yes, it was closed to all traffic before the repairs were completed last week.