Thousands of US bridges that carry millions daily have multiple safety red flags

WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Bridge Inventory looked at bridges across the country.  It found that Missouri had the fourth highest number of aging bridges.

Kansas engineers say federal highway statistics showing their state has more bridge problems than larger states like California don't tell the whole story of an aging rural bridge system in which small, county-owned spans often can be closed without any major disruptions.

An Associated Press analysis of 607,380 bridges in the most recent federal National Bridge Inventory showed that 65,605 were classified as "structurally deficient" and 20,808 as "fracture critical." Of those, 7,795 were both -- a combination of red flags that experts say indicate significant disrepair and similar risk of collapse.

A bridge is deemed fracture critical when it doesn't have redundant protections and is at risk of collapse if a single, vital component fails. A bridge is structurally deficient when it is in need of rehabilitation or replacement because at least one major component of the span has advanced deterioration or other problems that lead inspectors to deem its condition poor or worse.

States are working to replace bridges or fix the problems that exist. Repairing a bridge can cost millions, if not billions, of dollars.

Bridge regulators say if a bridge is open to traffic, then it is safe.

Print this article Back to Top