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54,259 Bridges Rated Structurally Deficient

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has released its annual 2018 Deficient Bridge Report.

January 30, 2018
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association released its annual 2018 Deficient Bridge Report.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has released its annual 2018 Deficient Bridge Report.

The map above shows the percentage of bridges rated structurally deficient. Green is 0 to 4.9 percent, yellow is 5 to 8.9 percent, and orange is 9 percent or higher.

According to an analysis of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s just released 2017 National Bridge Inventory database, 54,259 of the nation’s bridges are rated structurally deficient. If placed end-to-end, they would stretch 1,216 miles, or nearly the distance between Miami and New York City.

ARTBA says the pace of improving the nation’s inventory of structurally deficient bridges slowed this past year, down only two-tenths of a percent from the number reported in the government’s 2016 data.

At current pace of repair or replacement, it would take 37 years to remedy all of them, says Dr. Alison Premo Black, chief economist for ARTBA, who conducted the analysis.

Ranking Highlights

  • This year, Iowa ranks at the top of ARTBA's list with the most structurally deficient bridges - 5,067 in all - holding the Number One ranking for three years straight.
  • Virginia has made improvements on 110 of its bridges, reflecting an 11.8 percent drop in the number of deficient bridges in the state.
  • Rhode Island has the highest percentage of deficient bridges with 23.3 percent of its 778 bridges requiring repair.
  • The District of Columbia has the fewest poor bridges with just 8 out of 245 bridges total.

For more national and state by state structurally deficient bridge data, click on these links:

  1. Top 250 U.S. Deficient Bridges Based on Daily Crossings (PDF)
  2. State-by-State Rankings (PDF)
  3. Top 10 Most Traveled Deficient Bridges by State (PDF)
  4. Map: State-by-State Breakdown Illustrating the Importance of the Federal Highway & Bridge Program (PDF)

ARTBA defines structurally deficient as one of the key elements of the bridge is in poor or worse condition. To help ensure public safety, bridge decks and support structures are regularly inspected for deterioration and remedial action. They are rated on a scale of zero to nine—with nine meaning the bridge is in “excellent” condition.  A bridge is classified as structurally deficient and in need of repair if the rating on a key structural element is four or below.

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