New York bridges deemed safe

Evaluation of bridges good, but state still aims to improve road and bridge conditions

News Times Union December 27, 2007
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The New York Department of Transportation has completed its evaluation of 49 deck truss bridges, fueled by the Aug. 1 I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Officials say the results confirm earlier findings that the bridges are safe.

However, Transportation Commissioner Astrid Glynn said the state must implement new ways to better the condition of state highways and 17,000 state and local bridges.

"New York state's highways are safe, but our transportation infrastructure is aging and needs greater attention and investment," Glynn said in a written statement released Dec. 26 with the state bridge task force report.

Inspectors flagged problems on 20 bridges.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer ordered inspections of all deck truss bridges after the I-35W collapse. Visual inspections of deck truss bridges were completed in August. More thorough, hands-on inspections followed in the fall.

The report released Dec. 26 was issued by a task force consisting of representatives of the DOT, the Thruway Authority, Bridge Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It outlined three strategies:

  • Greater emphasis on preventive and corrective maintenance;

  • Seeking more federal aid to reduce a backlog of bridges classified as deficient; and

  • Including a bridge improvement program in the state's next transportation capital plan.

The report suggests the federal government provide "an appropriate financial share" of repairing New York's bridges. New York receives about $10 billion a year now from the federal government for roads and bridges, said DOT spokesman Charles Carrier.

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