Each year, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) puts out their annual Bridge Report, which highlights the general state of America’s bridges. Their recently released 2019 report shows that we’re making progress on the structurally deficient bridges across the country, but the association is not satisfied with the speed of repairs.
There are currently 616,087 bridges in the US, according to the ARTBA report and 47,052 of them have been rated as “structurally deficient. The term signifies that there are “one or more structural defects that require attention.”
Last year, the report stated that there were over 612,677 bridges and that 54,249 of those were structurally deficient, Year over year, that amounts to a 1.2% reduction in structurally deficient bridges, down from 8.9% to 7.7% this year.
The ARTBA doesn’t want you to get too excited about the decline, however, because a definition change that became effective on January 1, 2018 has greatly reduced the amount of bridges that can be classified as structurally deficient. Because of that definition change, there are 6,533 bridges rated as structurally deficient on last year’s report that were not included on this year’s, bringing this year’s total reduction down to 567 bridges.
The report states that the rate of work was at its slowest point in five years last year, as the average reduction over that time was 1,700 bridges.
Including the 47K+ bridges listed as structurally deficient, there are over 235,000 bridges that have been identified as needing repaired, amounting to roughly 38% of the total fleet.
The states with the most structurally deficient bridges are:
1. Iowa – 4,675 (ranked #1 last year)
2. Pennsylvania – 3,770 (ranked #2 last year)
3. Oklahoma – 2,540 (ranked #3 last year)
4. Illinois – 2,273 (ranked #5 last year)
5. Missouri – 2,116 (ranked #4 last year)
The states with the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges are:
1. Rhode Island – 23.0% (ranked #1 last year)
2. West Virginia – 19.8% (ranked #3 last year)
3. Iowa – 19.3% (ranked #2 last year)
4. South Dakota – 16.7% (ranked #4 last year)
5. Pennsylvania – 16.5% (ranked #5 last year)
ARTBA has also released an interactive state map (screenshot of the map is above), if you’d like more information on the problematic bridges in your area. You can access that map on ARTBA's website by clicking here