America's Infrastructure: Bridges

 

  Download the Excel Version of the Table: "Deficiency Status of Bridges, 2012"

America’s deteriorating infrastructure has been an ongoing concern for many years. The May 2013 collapse of a bridge in Washington was the latest event to peak the interests of the public and policymakers about the state, safety and financing of bridges and roads in the U.S.1

While the number of bridges deemed to be deficient has been declining over the past decade, more than 10 percent of the nation’s bridges remain in need of repair or update.
  • The average age of the 607,380 bridges in the U.S. is 42 years.2
  • The percentage of bridges deemed deficient has been decreasing for the past decade as states and cities have increased efforts to prioritize repairs and replacements.3 In 2005, 13.1 percent of bridges were structurally deficient and 15.1 percent were functionally obsolete.
  • In 2012, 11 percent of the bridges throughout the U.S. were classified as structurally deficient, while 14 percent were classified as functionally obsolete.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that there is a nearly $8 billion annual gap between what federal, state and local governments would need to spend and what is actually being spent to eliminate the nation’s deficient bridge backlog by 2028.4 
  • Although nearly 25 percent of the nation’s bridges are considered deficient (structurally deficient or functionally obsolete), many of them are large-scale, urban bridges that carry a high percentage of the nation’s traffic. For example, the nation’s 66,749 structurally deficient bridges make up slightly more than one-tenth of the total number of bridges, but one-third of the total bridge decking area—how bridge size is measured—in the country.5
Deficiency levels on state-owned bridges vary significantly across the country.
  • States with the lowest percentage of state-owned structurally deficient bridges by count include Texas, 0.8 percent, and Florida, 1 percent, while states with the highest percentage of state-owned structurally deficient bridges include Pennsylvania, 20.5 percent, and Rhode Island, 19.7 percent.
  • States with the lowest percentage of state-owned functionally obsolete bridges by count include Nebraska, 2.5 percent, and North Dakota, 2.8 percent, while states with the highest percentage of state-owned functionally obsolete bridges include Massachusetts, 47 percent, and Hawaii, 34.1 percent.
  • When taking bridge size—known as decking area—into account, levels of deficiency change. That is, states with the lowest percentage of state-owned structurally deficient bridges by decking area include Nevada, 0.9 percent, and Georgia, 1.6 percent, while states with the highest percentage of state-owned structurally deficient bridges by area include Rhode Island, 25.5 percent, and Connecticut, 16.9 percent.
  • States with the lowest percentage of state-owned functionally obsolete bridges by area include North Dakota, 3.8 percent, and Minnesota, 7.3 percent, while states with the highest percentage of state-owned functionally obsolete bridges by area include Massachusetts, 43.5 percent, and New York, 40.5 percent.


Resources:
1 Unless otherwise noted, all data is derived from the Federal Highway Administration,
2 "2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure." American Society of Civil Engineers,
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.

 

America's Infrastructure: Bridges

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deficiency_status_of_bridges.xls38 KB