If you have to take a bridge in your daily commute, you may wonder occasionally about the structure and if it is sound. According to ASCE, one out of nine bridges is rated as structurally deficient.
When President Trump talked about building up the infrastructure in the United States, most people could agree it was time the problem was addressed.
A bridge is designated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete when it is visually in poor condition or deemed unable to handle the load it carries. However, just because a bridge is deemed structurally deficient does not mean it has to be closed. It may need repairs or weight restrictions. However, if a bridge is functionally obsolete it means the bridge fails to meet current traffic standards. The lanes may be too narrow for today’s vehicles, clearance may be too low, or the wood and steel parts are too rotted to sustain the loads going over it.
Bridge Inspections are required every two years. State officials are the ones in charge of inspections and repairs. Only a fraction of the structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges are addressed.
It is time we step up and take this problem head on. If the bridge collapse in Minnesota in 2007 showed us anything, it demonstrated that infrastructure repairs need to happen now!