The disrepair of bridges throughout the United States has been a concern for the past several years. For a bridge to be considered structurally deficient, it would have to have major deterioration, cracks, or any flaw that could reduce it’s ability to support vehicles. In a 2004 federal report, more than 6,000 of about 115,000 bridges in the National Highway System were deemed structurally deficient. In California alone, 13% of bridges are considered structurally deficient, with the average daily traffic exceeding 40,000 vehicles.
Since the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse, some states have made progress in repairing old bridges, but many states still have thousands in disrepair. Billions are needed to get everything up to date. It wouldn’t be surprising if road tolls would continue to rise with the continuing rise of repair costs. According to the latest estimate by the American Society of Civil Engineers, it would cost $9.4 billion a year for 20 years to eliminate all bridge deficiencies in the USA.
A bill that was passed a few years back offers a bit of relief, by calling for annual inspections of structurally deficient and fracture-critical bridges, uniform training standards for inspectors, and an extra $1 billion to help states repair bridges that are eligible for federal funds.