As Much as 230,000 U. S. Bridges Need Repair!

When you consider how many bridges you as a truck driver cross each week, this number is frightening. Statistically, if you cross 100 bridges during that week, 37 of those should be replaced or need structural repairs.

This is precisely what the latest ARTBA (American Road & Transportation Builders Association) report shows. The report shows the defeating reality that as much as 230k bridges need repairs and should be replaced!

To put numbers into perspective again, more than a third of all U.S. bridges need repair or replacement.

ARTBA’s Faulty Bridge Classification

The ARTBA report classified these faulty bridges into two categories:

– Structurally deficient

– Need replacement

Structurally Deficient Bridges

ARTBA’s study pointed out that out of the 230k total faulty bridges, 46,000 are “structurally deficient” and in poor condition. The study also shows another statistical fact, which is that these bridges are crossed 178 million times a day.

Bridges that Need Replacement

ARTBA’s Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black said that an additional 81,000 bridges ought to be replaced. Additionally, it is reported that one third of interstate highway bridges (18,177 spans) have been identified with repair needs.

How Much Would the Repairs Cost?

In the midst of the global pandemic, the current focus is on battling the pandemic itself. But, ARTBA points out that once the focus shifts from rescue to economic recovery, there are immense benefits from enabling a robust transportation infrastructure.

The costs for repairing all 231,000 bridges in the U.S. is estimated to be at nearly $164 billion based on the average data for costs published by FHWA (Federal Highway Administration.)

State Rankings for Structurally Deficient Bridges

ARTBA also presented data on which states have the most structurally deficient bridges as a percent out of their total bridge inventory. Here is the list, ordered from the highest to lowest:

– Rhode Island (22.3%)

– West Virginia (21%)

– Iowa (19%)

– South Dakota (17%)

– Pennsylvania (15.3%)

– Louisiana (13.2%)

– Maine (12.8%)

– Puerto Rico (12.3%)

– Michigan (10.8%)

– North Dakota (10.7%)

Another statistic is the one that shows the states with the actual number of structurally deficient bridges, and it is as follows:

– Iowa (4,575 bridges)

– Pennsylvania (3,501 bridges)

– Illinois (2,407 bridges)

– Oklahoma (2,352 bridges)

– Missouri (2,147 bridges)

– California (1,797 bridges)

– New York (1,745 bridges)

– North Carolina (1,714 bridges)

– Louisiana (1,701 bridges)

– West Virginia (1,531 bridges)

It is important to note that ARTBA stated while these bridges are not imminently unsafe, they still need attention.

States with Reduced Structurally Deficient Bridges

ARTBA also gives detailed statistics on states that reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges in the past five years, and they are as follows:

– Pennsylvania (1,200 bridges)

– Oklahoma (753 bridges)

– Indiana (467 bridges)

– Ohio (412 bridges)

– Virginia (391 bridges)

Notable Structurally Deficient Bridges

Among the 231,000 bridges, there are a lot of notable bridges including New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge, D.C.’s Theodora Roosevelt bridge, the San Mateo-Hayward bridge, Florida’s Pensacola Bay Bridge, and the Vicksburg Bridge in Mississippi.

The full ARTBA report can be found in their Bridge Report.