It Will Take 80 Years to Repair All Structurally Deficient Bridges in the US: Report

Americans cross "structurally deficient" bridges 178 million times a day.

bridge repairs
The Brooklyn Bridge needs repairs. (Getty)
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Bridges across the United States are deteriorating and, at the current pace of repairs, it will take more than 80 years to fix all of them.

That’s according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association in an eerily timely report issued Monday — the same day a bridge in Tennessee collapsed. The group, which advocates for investment in transportation infrastructure, analyzes data from the Federal Highway Administration and releases an annual Deficient Bridge report, according to CNN.

This year’s report, based on 2018 data, found, among other alarming discoveries, that of the more than 616,000 bridges in America, 47,052 (nearly 8%) are “structurally deficient” and need urgent repairs and another 235,020 bridges (38%) need at least “some” repair.

Americans cross “structurally deficient” bridges 178 million times a day, according to the ARTBA, with each averaging about 62-years-old. A deficient bridge is defined as one that needs repairs but is not yet technically unsafe for public travel, like the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

The states that most urgently need to attend to their compromised bridges include Iowa, with 4,675 in danger, Pennsylvania (3,770), Oklahoma (2,540) and Illinois (2,273).

To add to the growing danger, bridge repair rates are the lowest they’ve been in the past five years, according to the report, making the projection for how long it will take to fix them all more than double from last year’s estimate of 37 years to a whopping 80 years.

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