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Nearly 56K U.S. Bridges Deemed Deficient

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) released its annual report on America’s bridges, showing that 55,710 of them are deemed structurally deficient, about 2,785 fewer than last year.

That’s a 0.5 percent decrease from the 2015 report, which means even though less bridges are deemed to need work, the pace at which the repairs are going has not gotten better. It would still take more than two decades to repair all the bridges at this rate.

© iStock.com / MikeCherim

The structurally compromised bridges are crossed 180 million time daily, and about 1,900 are part of the Interstate Highway System.

 

Total mileage of the deficient bridges has also decreased, however, from 1,340 miles of bridges to 1,276—half the distance from New York to Los Angeles.

By the Numbers

While the bridges deemed structurally deficient aren’t necessarily imminently unsafe, the report shows which bridges need attention. Bridge decks and support structures are inspected for deterioration and then rated on a scale of zero to nine, nine meaning the bridge is in “excellent” condition. The bridge is rated as deficient if its overall rating is four or below.

The top 10 states (ranked by total number of deficient bridges) changed little from 2015, with Iowa and Pennsylvania leading the way.

10. New York (1,928)
9. Ohio (1,942)
8. Mississippi (2,098)
7. Kansas (2,151)
6. Illinois (2,243)
5. Nebraska (2,361)
4. Missouri (3,195)
3. Oklahoma (3,460)
2. Pennsylvania (4,506)
1. Iowa (4,968)

While the majority of the states contributed to the decrease in overall structurally deficient bridges, 13 states saw an increase in the number of bridges needing attention. Those were: Ohio (up 2.6 percent), West Virginia (14.2 percent), New Jersey (2.2 percent), Massachusetts (4.8 percent), Montana (13.1 percent), Oregon (2.9 percent), Idaho (6.8 percent), Washington (1.8 percent), Maryland (0.7 percent), Florida (2 percent), Rhode Island (7.9 percent) and Hawaii (6.7 percent).

© iStock.com / ChuckSchugPhotography

Total mileage of the deficient bridges has also decreased, however, going from 1,340 miles of bridges to 1,276—half the distance from New York to Los Angeles.

The structurally compromised bridges are crossed 180 million time daily, and about 1,900 are part of the Interstate Highway System.

Follow the Money

Federals funds, on average, provide about 51 percent of annual state Department of Transportation capital outlays for highway and bridge projects. Of the top 10 states with the highest number of deficient bridges, six (New York, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa) receive more money—an average of 60.8 percent.

In No.1-ranking Iowa, federal investment has supported $1.6 billion for capital improvements on 2,088 bridges between 2005 and 2014. The state has identified 14,829 bridges that still need repairs.

“America’s highway network is woefully underperforming. It is outdated, overused, underfunded and in desperate need of modernization,” said Chief Economist Alison Premo Black, who conducted the analysis. “State and local transportation departments haven’t been provided the resources to keep pace with the nation’s bridge needs.”

   

Tagged categories: American Road & Trans Builders Assn (ARTBA); Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); North America; Quality Control

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