Transportation for America released a report today on the state of our nation’s bridges. Hint, the news is not good.
A new look at structurally deficient bridges in metropolitan areas finds that just a quarter of U.S. bridges, located in our largest metropolitan areas, carry 75 percent of all traffic crossing a deficient bridge each day.
On the heels of the sudden closure of a major commuting bridge in Louisville, KY, a new report shows that more than 18,000 of the nation’s busiest bridges, clustered in the nation’s metro areas, are rated as “structurally deficient,” according to this new report from Transportation for America.
In Los Angeles, for example, an average 396 drivers cross a deficient bridge every second, the study found. The Fix We’re In For: The State of Our Nation’s Busiest Bridges, ranks 102 metro areas in three population categories based on the percentage of deficient bridges.
The report found that Pittsburgh, PA had the highest percentage of deficient bridges (30.4 percent) for a metro area with a population of over 2 million (and overall). Oklahoma City, OK (19.8 percent) topped the chart for metro areas between 1-2 million, as did Tulsa, OK (27.5 percent) for metro areas between 500,000-1 million.
The Providence Metro area (which includes the entire state of Rhode Island plus Bristol County, Massachusetts) ranked third worst of metropolitan areas with a population between 1 and 2 million. 18.6% or 212 of our bridges were ranked as deficient with a daily traffic count of 3,933,150 on deficient bridges.
In order to prevent future catastrophes on our nation’s roads and bridges, the report recommends that Congress should:
- Provide states with increased resources to repair and rebuild. States need federal support to back their efforts to prioritize repair and maintenance.
- Ensure that funds sent to states for bridge repair are used only for that purpose, unless a state can show it has addressed its repair needs.
- Require that new or rehabilitated be built so that they are safe for everyone who uses them, whether they are in vehicles, on foot or bicycle, or using public transit.
RIDOT released a statement today refuting Transportation for America’s numbers.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is correcting a report released today by Transportation for America. The report lists an incorrect number of structurally deficient bridges for Rhode Island.
The number that “The State of Our Nation’s Busiest Bridges” uses for the Providence metro area also includes bridges in New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts. Statewide, Rhode Island has 155 bridges that are classified as structurally deficient. The report lists 212.
For more information on Rhode Island’s bridges, please visit the RIDOT website.
I don’t know what RIDOT is not understanding, the report clearly stated it was ranking by metro area, which for Providence includes the entirety of Rhode Island plus Bristol County, Massachusetts (home to New Bedford and Fall River). That is where the report gets 212 deficient bridges from.
In the state report [.pdf], which includes only the state of Rhode Island, not Bristol County, MA, there are 163 structurally deficient bridges. I cannot account for the descrepancy between RIDOT’s 155 and Transportation for America’s 163.