State-by-state analyses of FHWA’s 2013 National Bridge Inventory data show that state and local agencies don’t have, and never will, the resources to meet repair and replacement needs.

Nor should they be expected to, says the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). “DOTs are doing the best they can with very limited resources,” says Chief Economist Alison Premo Black. “Federal funding accounts for 52% of investment in roads and bridges, and Congress needs to come to grips with that.”

ARTBA is one of many organizations pressuring Congress to do something, anything, to keep the Highway Trust Fund from going broke when MAP-21 expires Sept. 30 and finally, permanently devise a realistic, long-term funding mechanism for infrastructure that affects global competitiveness. (Click here for Public Works' analysis of how well MAP-21 is working for state and local road agencies.)

“As we invest less in our own infrastructure, development of new materials and technologies is increasingly being transferred overseas,” says Mike Cegelis, a senior vice president with American Bridge Co., a global civil engineering firm based in Pennsylvania.

Among ARTBA’s findings:

  • Pennsylvania (5,218), Iowa (5,043), Oklahoma (4,227), Missouri (3,357), and California (2,769) have the most structurally deficient bridges
  • Nevada (36), Delaware (56), Utah (117), Alaska, (133) and Hawaii (144) have the least
  • The 250 most heavily crossed structurally deficient bridges are on urban interstate highways, particularly in California. With one exception, all are at least 39 years old.
  • Click here for state-by-state rankings by total number and percentage of structurally deficient bridges
  • Click here to see how much your state spends on bridges
  • Click here to see how much of that spending is made possible by federal dollars
  • Click here to see which structurally deficient bridges carry the most traffic

ARTBA wants public agencies to alert the traveling public to structurally insufficient bridges by posting signs to that effect at each one.

What do you think – good idea? Or not? E-mail me at sjohnston@hanleywood.com or comment below.