Why US bridges are in such bad shape

America’s bridges are in their raw state.

More than a third of the country’s bridges are in need of repair, and over 43,000 are in poor condition and classified as “structurally defective,” according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

A structurally defective bridge is a bridge that requires significant maintenance to remain in service. It is often posted with weight restrictions but is considered safe to use.

Every day in the United States, approximately 167 million trips are made over structurally inadequate bridges

The state of bridges in the US is not good and we are losing the battle,” said William Ibbs, a civil engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hours before President Joe Biden was scheduled to visit Pittsburgh in January to discuss infrastructure, one of the city’s more than 440 bridges collapsed. Ten people were injured, including first responders.

Other bridges collapsed in Washington state in 2013 and in Minneapolis in 2007.

“I think what we found out is that we’ve been deferring maintenance for a long time and then all of a sudden we’re at the point where we have this big maintenance backlog that we have and we don’t really have that funding to catch up at this point,” said Kevin Heaslip, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.

While most structures in the country were designed to have a useful life of around 50 years, the average age of bridges in the US is 44 years. Older bridges with fewer lanes and limited access can cause congestion, impacting trade and emergency response times.

But after innovations in bridge building, new building materials, and additional funding, there are signs of modest improvement in the nation’s bridge inventory.

In January, Biden announced his administration would allocate $27 billion over the next five years to repair or rebuild thousands of bridges across the nation. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the current estimate for repairing all bridges in the US is $125 billion.

So why are so many of the country’s bridges in a state of disrepair, and what steps are being taken to repair them? Watch the video to learn more.

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https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/17/why-us-bridges-are-in-such-bad-shape.html Why US bridges are in such bad shape

Gary B. Graves

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