Bridges in the United States have deteriorated to the point that it will take approximately 80 years to fix all of them, according to a new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). More than 47,000 bridges in the U.S. (nearly 8 percent of all U.S. bridges) are deemed "structurally deficient" and need urgent repairs; 38 percent of U.S. bridges need some sort of repair, rehabilitation, or replacement.
Americans cross structurally deficient bridges 178 million times a day, including landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Florida's Pensacola Bay Bridge, and the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in the San Francisco Bay, the ARTBA report says.
Bridge repairs are at their slowest rate in five years, especially as some states focus on improving pavement conditions over bridge repair. The ARTBA estimates the cost to make the identified repairs for 235,000 bridges is nearly $171 billion.
"While these bridges may not be imminently unsafe, they are in need of attention," the ARTBA 2019 Bridge Report says. "Nearly 69,000 bridges across the country are 'posted for load' which means there are weight restrictions or other measures in place to reduce stress on the infrastructure."
As repairs continue to lag, experts warn that bridge closings may become more frequent. In late March, the Mississippi Department of Transportation said that 61 bridges needed to be closed immediately due to unsafe conditions.
Unsafe road conditions and deteriorating infrastructure could produce long-term complications for supply chain management and security. Read more about supply chain security solutions and challenges in the Security Management archive.