Nov 28, 2011
Three out of four drivers in the U.S. cross a deficient bridge every day, according to a new report out in October. In Pittsburgh, three of every ten bridges are deficient. In Detroit and Cleveland, one of every nine bridges is deficient; Chicago, one of every 11 bridges.
Altogether 70,000 “structurally deficient” bridges need serious work. The Federal Highway Administration estimates the country needs to spend 70 billion dollars. Yet the federal government provides only five billion dollars per year for bridge work. One of every three bridges is older than 50 years, even though most American bridges were designed to last only 50 years.
Just four years ago, we saw the consequences of this neglect in the terrible bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Thirteen people died and 145 were injured.
“There are more deficient bridges in our metropolitan areas than there are McDonald’s restaurants in the entire country,” said the director of Transportation for America.
Work that needs doing, that could employ millions, is set aside as if the country cannot afford it. The bridges that collapse and the lack of jobs are what we can’t afford.