ROADS/BRIDGES: N.J. adds 200 more structurally deficient bridges to its list

Two-hundred more bridges expected to become structurally deficient in the next five years.

Bridge Rescue News April 30, 2015
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Another 200 New Jersey bridges will become structurally deficient in the next five years, bringing the state’s tally up to 500. Gains made by the New Jersey Transportation Department may soon become a distant memory as its maintenance backlog climbs.
 
The bridges will be added to a list of 290 state-owned bridges that are currently designated as deficient. The designation means one of the bridge’s  three main elements is failing and needs repair.
 
There are 6,701 bridges in New Jersey, and 2,586 of them are owned and maintained by the Transportation Department. Of those, 11% are labeled as deficient, said Steve Schapiro, a spokesman for the Transportation Department.
 
At the beginning of the Christie administration, the department set a goal of reducing the ratio of deficient spans to 6%. Now it appears the agency will fall short of its goal, Schapiro said.
 
News of more deficient bridges comes after three years of slow progress by the state to catch up on its maintenance backlog. In 2012 there were 330 state-owned and -maintained bridges that were defined as structurally deficient by the Transportation Department. Since then, that total has been downsized to 290.
 
However, it appears that even slow progress on the state’s backlog of deficient bridges will become less realistic. Most of the state’s transportation fund, $1.2 billion generated by the state gas tax, is being funneled toward paying off the fund’s $15.5 billion debt. 

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