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US slow to repair thousands of 'structurally deficient' bridges

Brooklyn bridge ny

The pace of bridge repairs in the US has slowed despite 47,000 out of 616,000 of the country’s bridges rated as “structurally deficient” and in need of urgent repair, a report has found.

The 2019 bridge report by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) said that the pace of repairs in 2018 had slowed compared to previous years, with only a 1% net reduction of deficient structures.

Crossings are made over the deficient bridges 178M times a day, the report said.

According to the report, at the current rate of repair, it would take over 80 years to make the significant repairs needed on all the structures.

Around 38% of the bridges in the US have been identified as needing repairs with one in three interstate highway bridges needing repair.

The ARTBA estimates that it would cost a total of $171bn (£130.4bn) to repair all of the bridges based average cost data published by the Federal Highways Association.

Bridge ratings are updated as inspections are completed with some bridges classified as structurally deficient and others removed from the category as they undergo repair, rehabilitation or replacement.

Nearly two-third of the bridges that are structurally deficient in 2018 have been classified as structurally deficient since 2014.

Some of the notable structurally deficient bridges in 2018 include New York’s Brooklyn Bridge; the Memorial Bridge connecting Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial with Arlington, Va. and the San Mateo-Hayward bridge crossing California’s San Francisco Bay – the longest bridge in California. 

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