Nearly 224,000 U.S. bridges need major repair work or should be replaced, according to an analysis of recently released U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) 2021 National Bridge Inventory (NBI) database.
The analysis of the NBI data was conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). This figure represents 36% of all U.S. bridges. ARTBA says if placed end-to-end, these bridges would stretch over 6,100 miles.
According to ARTBA, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provides states with significant new resources to make long overdue infrastructure improvements, including bridge repairs. However, the association notes that Congress and the Biden administration have yet to release much of the additional funding because they have not enacted a full-year FY 2022 transportation appropriations law at the IIJA-authorized investment levels.
“The longer it takes to bridge the political divide on the FY 2022 spending bills, the longer it will take for transportation improvements to get started,” ARTBA President & CEO Dave Bauer said in a statement. “We urge Congress to act forthwith so that the American people can begin to realize the benefits of the historic investments in the bipartisan infrastructure law.”
ARTBA estimates the cost of identified repairs for all 224,000 bridges—including the 43,578 structurally deficient structures—is $260 billion. The report finds that 78,800 of these bridges should be replaced. It also finds the number of structurally deficient bridges was down by 1,445 compared to 2020. At current pace, it would take 30 years to repair them all.
The report also says about 48% of U.S. bridges are rated in fair condition, which means that the bridge shows evidence of minor deterioration or minor cracks.
SOURCE: American Road & Transportation Builders Association