The collapse of America's bridges is accelerating: report

The collapse of America's bridges is accelerating: report
Image via Wikimedia Commons

A substantial number of the United States' 620,000 bridges need major improvement or replacement, a new report reveals.

According to Axios, the report published by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) suggests 36% of America's bridges —which is equivalent to approximately 224,000 spans— are in need of repairs. The report also recommends that an estimated 78,800 bridges be replaced.

These infrastructures are critical because vehicles cross these infrastructures approximately 167.5 million times a day.

Per Axios: "Chunks of concrete fall from bridges with some regularity, and routine inspections often reveal problems that prompt authorities to shut down lanes of traffic or close off a bridge to heavy vehicles, to reduce the weight burden."

Speaking to Axios, Alison Premo Black, the senior vice president and chief economist at ARTBA, weighed in on the progress being made to repair bridges. She also expressed corner about incidents like the one that recently occurred in Pittsburgh, Penn. As previously reported, a bridge in Pittsburg collapsed just hours before President Joe Biden was scheduled to visit the city to discuss infrastructure updates.

"There’s progress being made — it’s just at a very slow pace," Black said. "It's just very disturbing that [accidents like Pittsburgh] can still happen despite all the steps being taken to keep the traveling public safe."

Kevan Stone, executive director of the National Association of County Engineers, also shared his concerns about the improvements needed to America's infrastructures.

"You just have these cities which are growing to an unprecedented extent, and the infrastructure was never designed to handle the amount of traffic that these structures are expected to deal with every day," Stone said.

Matti Kuivalainen the CEO of Dywidag, one of the world's most prominent bridge construction and engineering firms, explained what needs to be done in order to keep America's infrastructure safe and up-to-date.

"We need to monitor the actual behavior of a bridge versus how it's supposed to behave," Kuivalainen told Axios. "That, together with physical inspections, will help DOT to identify bridges at risk and prioritize repairs and replacement projects."

Kuivalainen also noted that "there is regulation needed."

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