ARTBA Study Finds 58,000 US Bridges to be 'Structurally Deficient'
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News
Nearly 10% of the country’s bridges – 58,495 out of 609,539 – were considered structurally deficient last year and needed repairs, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association reported Feb. 18.
The total represents 2,574 fewer bridges than the more than 61,000 in 2014, according to ARTBA, which represents the design and construction industry. The association reviewed Transportation Department records for its study. More than 63,000 bridges were structurally deficient in 2013, the group found.
Cars, trucks, buses and emergency vehicles cross deficient bridges more than 200 million times a day. If placed end to end, the deficient bridges would stretch 1,340 miles, from New York City to Miami.
“I think it is something to still be concerned about, just because of the sheer number of bridges classified as structurally deficient,” ARTBA Chief Economist Alison Black said. “It’s just such a big problem.”
The five states with the most deficient bridges were Iowa with 5,025, Pennsylvania with 4,783, Oklahoma with 3,776, Missouri with 3,222 and Nebraska with 2,474.
The five states with the biggest share of deficient bridges were Rhode Island at 23.2%, Pennsylvania at 21%, Iowa at 20.7%, South Dakota at 19.7% and Oklahoma at 16.4%.
Deficient bridges aren’t necessarily falling down, but they are in need of repair. Bridges are rated on a scale of zero to nine, with a top score meaning excellent condition. Scores of four or below are classified structurally deficient.
Part of the problem is maintaining aging bridges. Of the 250 most heavily traveled bridges that need repairs, 85% were built before 1970 with the creation of the interstate highway system.
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|By Bart Jansen|
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