There are 68,842 structurally deficient bridges in the U.S., according to the Federal Highway Administration. Industry groups such as the American Road & Transportation Builder’s Association (ARTBA) warn that the number will only increase. Many bridges classified as structurally deficient were built between 1950 and 1970 during the construction of the U.S. interstate system and have a lifespan of about 70-75 years.
With traffic surging in many major metro areas and bridges approaching their expiration dates, there is great need to repair and replace the U.S. bridge system. However, the type of bridge overhaul needed requires a multibillion-dollar funding program with a secure funding source.
Due to the precarious nature of the U.S. highway funding bill, many highway and bridge engineers find themselves resorting small fixes instead of complete repairs to avoid the worst case scenario, a bridge collapse.