12% of America's Bridges Are Falling Down

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
12 of america s bridges are falling down

After the collapse of the four-lane bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August first, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has released “sufficiency ratings” for more than 25K state bridges. The Pittsburg Post Gazette reports that some 6K of the state’s bridges (roughly 12.5 percent) need structural updates or replacement. That’s in addition to 54 bridges the state has already closed on safety grounds. Fixing the problem will cost an estimated $11b. Meanwhile, The Tennessee Leaf-Chronicle says fixing the state’s bridges will cost “more than $215m.” NJ.com says state officials estimate their bridge repair tab at $3b. And so it goes. A 2006 Federal Highway Administration study says at least 73,533 of the country’s 607,363 bridges (about 12 percent) are rated "structurally deficient," including some built as recently as the early ‘90’s. Next up: the political debate over how to pay for their repair. After that, stopping the skimming.

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  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Aug 31, 2007

    The other problem is we constantly want to do things on the cheap. You can't build a long lasting durable road by cutting corners and making the structure as minimal as possible to save a few bucks on steel and concrete. Especially since the road loads increase exponentially every year with all the traffic we now have just about everywhere. I have news for you guys but stainless steel rebar has been around for a very long time, how come they just finally started using it on bridges near water, especially salt water. I also think the planning of roads in this country is BAD, real bad and some people need to be held accountable for it, but I wont get into that hear. I'm tired of giving these incompetent people free reign on my wallet.

  • Ruinedeffigy Ruinedeffigy on Aug 31, 2007

    I agree - our roads and bridges are in deplorable condition - and it's sad to say that we already pay out of asses to maintain these roads... Hell, even people who don't have cars pay to maintain roads. But that's beside the point... A federally appointed "bridge relief fund" would need to be established, and in every major American city, there would be tons of reconstruction projects that will mess up both traffic and everyone's busy schedules... It'd be like road workers closing part of the George Washington bridge... Can you imagine what would happen to traffic if it turned into a one-lane highway or was closed and routed traffic via the Tappan Zee bridge? Not only would it inconvenience THOUSANDS, but there's a ton of potential traffic jams and accidents that could be caused... I'm sure I don't need to remind you how much of an asshole everyone is when driving in New England. On a side note: Well . . . . Considering our war costs $20 million per minute . . . . if we decided to stop killing Arabs for one day we would have $28,800,000,000 - I think that could fix all the bridges in the country and maybe have some left over for, oh, I dunno, schools? $20,000,000 a minute sounds a bit high... Is that really what it comes down to? But, if that was the case, $28,800,000,000 would probably include the salary of EVERYONE serving, not just maintenance of being over there... So you would have to tell all those people fighting over there, seriously, for their lives that they won't be paid because "we have to fix a bridge" - I'm sure my friend serving in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger for $4000/mo would not be happy to hear someone wouldn't be paying them to put his life in danger daily. Also, does the war budget include the health care for the poor guys who actually get wounded, or worse, are disabled from attacks? I don't think they want to hear: "Oh, sorry, can't get pills for you today... Nor can we afford Anesthesia, so we'll have to amputate with an un-sterilized knife and you're gonna have to be awake... Okay?" So maybe cutting all of the $20Mil/Min wouldn't be a great idea...

  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Aug 31, 2007

    That $20,000,000/min. can't be right, who made that number up? That works out to $10,512,000,000,000 a year seem a tad high to me.

  • Ruinedeffigy Ruinedeffigy on Aug 31, 2007

    I was going to say something about how high it seemed - but I don't know much about military budget... But I thought (last I heard) it was like 40 Billion... But that puts 10 BILLION every quarter year... That's something like $3.333 billion a month, assuming 30 days in a month, that's $111 million a day, $4.625 million/hr, $770,833/min... That seems maybe a little plausible... But still high. But I don't know much about the subject.