The Road Information Program, a nonprofit transportation research group, analyzed the Federal Highway Administration’s latest data on bridges and concluded that 15 percent of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient, while 14 percent are functionally obsolete – for a total of 29 percent. In 1998, the number was 30 percent.
The newly released data is for bridge conditions as of December 1999.
The study also revealed that bridges located in Hawaii, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are in the worst shape, with the number hitting 50 percent or higher.
Bridge improvements are being attributed to increased funds coming in from the passage of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), according to William M. Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director.
A new U.S. Department of Transportation study found that although the nation is spending enough on bridges to keep them from getting worse, it would take a significant increase in bridge funding over a 20-year period to fix all current and new bridge deficiencies.