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Archive for July 15th, 2010

Drive with care over those 151,394 obsolete, unsafe bridges

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Each day that I drive the 11 miles from my house to the university, I cross nine of America’s 601,396 bridges (as of 2008). They’re not likely to collapse. I have seen each replaced or rehabilitated in the last 10 years.

But you may not be as fortunate. You may need to drive across one or more of the 151,394 bridges the federal Department of Transportation lists as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. That’s 25 percent of American bridges. But fear not: Bridges are becoming safer. There were 3,930 fewer such bridges in the United States in 2008 than in 2007.

Whew. That’s a relief. At this rate, America will have no unsafe or obsolete bridges in only 153 years.

The repair and replacement rate of deficient or obsolete U.S. bridges is rising, however. According to DOT statistics, the number of lousy bridges has been reduced by 14,087 since 2000, an average of only 1,565 a year. So maybe (you remember, of course, all that talk about those shovel-ready stimulus projects?) that repair rate will increase, and we will have licked our bad bridge problem in only 100 years.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized