Oregon to Work on Improving its Bridge System

March 25, 2024
Amount of distressed bridges has fallen since last year

The condition of Oregon’s bridges improved last year, according to a report from the state Department of Transportation (ODOT), but officials are looking ahead to making more improvements to the state system. 

The share of bridges that are considered “distressed” fell slightly last year, amidst maintenance work and three replacements across the state. 

However, ODOT Bridge Program manager Bert Hartman said the replacement process is still happening too slowly. At this pace, he said some Oregon bridges would need to remain functional for 900 years.

“A bridge doesn't expire like a carton of milk. We’re looking at a long service life, one hundred years, maybe some more,” said Hartman. “But what we have now is not a sustainable long-term bridge replacement route.”

"Eventually, we will have to start replacing bridges," said Hartman, "because that future generation will be inheriting the bridges that we've been enjoying."

Hartman said more state and federal funding is needed to make a dent in the problem. He said ODOT is working on a request to put before the state legislature next year.

In the meantime, Hartman said the public likely won't notice the aging infrastructure, as there are still relatively few poor-faring bridges in the state, and every bridge receives regular safety examinations.


Source: KLCC.org

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