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Report: 47,052 US Bridges Need Repairs

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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Just over 47,000 bridges in the United States are classified as structurally deficient and in poor condition, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s analysis of the U.S. Department of Transportation 2018 National Bridge Inventory.

Although the number of structural deficient bridges has declined slightly since 2017, the rate at which bridges are improved has slowed to the lowest point since the association began monitoring this data five years ago. The number of deficient spans is down roughly 7,000 from last year.

In addition to national-scale statistics, the ARTBA report breaks down structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges by state, and lists the most-traveled deficient bridges in the country.

Busiest Deficient Spans

The U.S. 101 bridge over Kester Avenue in Los Angeles, is once again the busiest structurally deficient span in the nation. Prior to being the newcomer on last year’s list, the 1959 bridge, which sees 289,000 crossings daily, had not been listed as structurally deficient in past years.

© iStock.com / dlerick

Just over 47,000 bridges in the United States are classified as structurally deficient and in poor condition, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s analysis of the U.S. Department of Transportation 2018 National Bridge Inventory.

According to the report, the top five most-crossed deficient bridges in the nation are in California. The majority of the most-traveled bridges are interstates.

Breakdown by State

Following on from last year, both Iowa and Pennsylvania again took the lead in terms of total number of deficient bridges—with 4,675 and 3,770, respectively. In Iowa, that accounts for 19.4 percent of all bridges, and in Pennsylvania, 16.6 percent. Both numbers are down from last year: In 2018, Iowa sat at 20.9 percent, with Pennsylvania not far behind at 18.3.

Otherwise, the top 10 states in terms of structurally deficient bridges include:

  • Oklahoma (2,540);
  • Illinois (2,273);
  • Missouri (2,116);
  • North Carolina (1,871);
  • California (1,812);
  • New York (1,757);
  • Louisiana (1,678); and
  • Mississippi (1,603).

Again matching last year’s report, Rhode Island has the highest rate of deficient bridges with 23.1 percent of its 780 bridges falling under the deficient criteria.

"Sadly, this report is no April Fool's joke," said Alison Premo Black, the ARTBA chief economist behind the analysis. "At the current pace, it would take more than 80 years to replace or repair the nation's structurally deficient bridges. That's longer than the average life expectancy of a person living in the U.S."

"America's bridge network is outdated, underfunded and in urgent need of modernization. State and local government just haven't been given the necessary resources to get the job done."

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair

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