Report: Nearly 56,000 US bridges structurally deficient

By |  February 16, 2017

An American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) analysis of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2016 National Bridge Inventory data found that 55,710 bridges are structurally compromised.

According to the analysis, cars, trucks and school buses cross these bridges 185 million times each day.

About 1,900 of these bridges are on the Interstate Highway System, and state transportation departments have identified 13,000 interstate bridges that need replacement, widening or major reconstruction.

Bridge decks and support structures are regularly inspected for deterioration and are rated on a scale of zero to nine, with nine meaning the bridge is in “excellent” condition. A bridge is considered structurally deficient if its overall rating is at a four or below.

According to ARTBA, the inventory of structurally deficient bridges has declined 0.5 percent since the 2015 report. At this pace, it would take more than two decades to replace or repair all of them, says Alison Premo Black, chief economist at ARTBA.

“America’s highway network is woefully underperforming,” says Black, whose organization shares further details in its “2017 Bridge Report.” “It is outdated, overused, underfunded and in desperate need of modernization. State and local transportation departments haven’t been provided the resources to keep pace with the nation’s bridge needs.”

ARTBA’s analysis notes that Iowa (4,968), Pennsylvania (4,506), Oklahoma (3,460), Missouri (3,195), Nebraska (2,361), Illinois (2,243), Kansas (2,151), Mississippi (2,098), Ohio (1,942) and New York (1,928) have the most structurally deficient bridges.

In addition, at least 15 percent of the bridges in eight states, including Rhode Island (25 percent), Iowa (21 percent), Pennsylvania (20 percent), South Dakota (20 percent), West Virginia (17 percent), Nebraska (15 percent), North Dakota (15 percent) and Oklahoma (15 percent), fall in the structurally deficient category.

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About the Author:

Allison Kral is the former senior digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Portable Plants magazine, GPS World magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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