As the bridge industry remembered the fifth anniversary of the collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis, several state departments of transportation were crying for the need for an increase in funding.
On Aug. 8, the New Hampshire DOT officials said too little money is dedicated to bridge repairs.
“We lack the necessary funding to keep up with our infrastructure right now and that’s our roads and bridges. It’s a national crisis,” NHDOT spokesman Bill Boynton told the Union Leader. “Every time we add [a structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridge], it seems like we are adding another one, so it’s a never-ending list. I think the escalating costs make it hard to keep up.”
New Hampshire maintains 2,143 bridges—140 of them listed as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The number of “red-listed” bridges peaked in 1996, when there were 156 of them, but Boynton said the number has slowly declined.
NHDOT Administrator of Bridge Design Mark Richardson said the state receives about $140 billion to $150 billion annually for road and bridge projects, and there is simply not enough to keep up with the repair needs of the spans. The picture is darker at the municipal level, where just $8 million is set aside each year to address bridges.
“We are eight to 10 years out at the very least to fund the projects municipalities are asking us to fund,” Richardson told the Union Leader. “I think if we had additional funds, we could certainly make good use of them in terms of maintaining bridges in the state.”