Roads score poorly in ASCE’s infrastructure report card

By |  March 25, 2013

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. bridges a C+ and roads around the country a D in its “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.” ASCE releases the report once every four years using an A to F school report card format. The society gave the country’s overall infrastructure a D+.

According to ASCE, one in nine bridges are rated as structurally deficient. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that to eliminate the nation’s bridge backlog by 2028, the U.S. would need to invest $20.5 billion annually. Only $12.8 billion is being spent currently.

The challenge for federal, state, and local governments, ASCE says, is to increase bridge investments by $8 billion annually to address the identified $76 billion in needs for deficient bridges across the United States. But with the overall number of structurally deficient bridges continuing to trend downward, ASCE’s grade on bridges is a C+.

Regarding roads, targeted efforts to improve conditions and significant reductions in highway fatalities resulted in a slight improvement in the grade to a D this year. Still, ASCE says 42 percent of America’s major urban highways remain congested, costing the economy an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel annually.

While the conditions have improved in the near term, and federal, state and local capital investments increased to $91 billion annually, ASCE says that level of investment is insufficient and still projected to result in a decline in conditions and performance in the long term.

An advisory council of ASCE members assigns grades for bridges, roads and other areas according to these eight criteria: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation. Since 1998, grades have been near failing, averaging only Ds, due to delayed maintenance and underinvestment across most categories.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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