Approximately 1,900 bridges along the United States’ interstate system are deemed structurally deficient, a fraction of the nearly 56,000 bridges with the same designation, according to a report released by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).
The organization’s analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation data on bridges in 2016 found that the country’s 55,710 structurally deficient bridges are crossed more than 185 million times each day. The number of bridges in the report is down a half percent from 2015.
The average age of the nearly 56,000 structurally deficient bridges, according to ARTBA, is 67 years old, compared to just 39 years old for non-deficient bridges. Additionally, 41 percent of all bridges in the U.S. are at least 40 years old and have had no major reconstruction work done to them.
“America’s highway network is woefully underperforming. It is outdated, overused, underfunded and in desperate need of modernization,” says ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black. “State and local transportation departments haven’t been provided the resources to keep pace with the nation’s bridge needs.”
Looking at the bridge data state-by-state, ARTBA found that Iowa, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio and New York have the most structurally deficient bridges. Washington, D.C., Nevada, Delaware, Hawaii and Utah have the least, the report states.
ARTBA says at least 15 percent of the bridges in eight states – Rhode Island, Iowa, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia, Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma – are also structurally deficient.
During regular inspections of bridge decks and support structures, bridges are rated on a scale of zero to nine, with nine being “excellent” condition, ARTBA says. A bridge is classified as structurally deficient and in need of repair if it scores a four or below.