New analysis of the nation’s bridges shows many are in desperate need of repairs and replacement.
An Associated Press review of the records in the U.S. Transportation Department’s National Bridge Inventory found out of more than 607,000 bridges, 65,605 are classified as “structurally deficient, 20,808 are listed as “fracture critical” and 7,795 are rated as both, indicating a significant risk of disrepair or collapse.
It notes the number of the bridges listed with problems has been fairly consistent over a number of years and that many were built from the 1950’s through the 1970’s, but have now exceeded their life expectancy and are carrying more traffic than they were designed to handle.
It points out the bridge that collapsed earlier this year along Interstate 5 in Washington state was “fracture critical.” The span is being rebuilt with work close to being completed. The collapse sent three vehicles into the water, resulting in only minor injuries, when a truck was crossing it, hitting an overhead support.
The AP review also noted the I-35W span that collapsed in Minneapolis 2007, killing 13 and injuring more than 100 was structurally deficient. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the collapse was due to an error by the bridge’s designers.
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