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The state of our nation’s busiest bridges

Transportation for America has released a report focusing the deteriorating condition of bridges in the largest 102 metropolitan areas. "The Fix We’re In For: The State of Our Nation’s Busiest Bridges" continues its analysis of the  National Bridge Inventory, which found one in nine U.S. bridges has been rated “structurally deficient.”

"The impact of a failure to attend to our bridges became all too clear in September, 2011, when the governors of Kentucky and Indiana were forced to close the busy Sherman Minton Bridge in metro­politan Louisville after inspectors found cracks in its structural beams. The closure made national headlines as Louisville traffic was snarled and mil­lions of Americans wondered about the condition of the busy bridges they have to cross each day," the report notes. "With the majority of American bridges soon due for major maintenance, overhaul or replacement, scenarios such as this could begin playing out with increasing frequency absent concerted effort and investment."

California leads the nation with the busiest deficient bridges, taking several top spots when ranking metros. The daily volume in Los Angeles was more than double that of second place New York.

"As an increasing number of our bridges reach – and pass – their original design life spans, repairing the nation’s biggest and busiest bridges will require a national strategy that is not possible under a program where money is distributed to states by formula with little accountability," the report notes.

The T4 report recommends:

  • Require states to develop asset management plans that prioritize the repair and maintenance of aging roads and bridges.
  • Ensure that money set aside for repair can’t be spent on other things.
  • Local governments must play a stronger role in setting transportation investment priorities to ensure funding will be directed to the most pressing repair.
  • Congress should resist the temptation to cannibalize safe walking and bicycling programs in the name of bridge repair.