Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
Finance | By Laverne Griffith

United States bridges structurally deficient


The U.S. Department of Transportation has released the 2016 National Bridge Inventory, which indicates that 55,710 bridges are structurally compromised- including 13,000 that need replacement, widening, or major reconstruction.

Black says the number of structurally deficient bridges decreases every year.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association published an interactive map showing the states with the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges. At that pace, it would take more than two decades to replace or fix all of them, according to American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, who conducted the analysis. Vehicles cross underperforming US spans 185 million times a day. If that's all the improvement that can be gained in 12 months, the group says it would take more than 20 years to improve or replace all of the bridges on the list.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has lofty goals for not just bridge fix, but roadway updates on major highways, so it's not yet clear in what order the bridge fix will be tackled.

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The report also points to several bridges in Oakland County and one in Macomb with the most traffic needing attention.

"America's highway network is woefully underperforming", Black said. Meanwhile, the District of Columbia had the least with 9 comprised bridges, followed by Nevada with 31 and DE with 43.

Twenty percent of Pennsylvania's bridges hold the structurally deficient classification, which means that at least one key element in the bridge - like the deck, superstructure or substructure - is considered to be in "poor" or worse condition. The top 14 most-traveled deficient bridges are in California.

Iowa (4,968), Pennsylvania (4,506), Oklahoma (3,460), Missouri (3,195), Nebraska (2,361), IL (2,243), Kansas (2,151), MS (2,098), OH (1,942) and NY (1,928) have the most structurally deficient bridges.

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