Infrastructure Emergency: 50,000 American Bridges Are “Structurally Deficient”

by | Feb 9, 2018 | Headline News | 51 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This report was originally published by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge


    Last week, President Trump announced his proposal for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure program in his State of The Union address to the American people. He failed to mention that over the next decade, the federal government would provide very little money whatsoever for America’s crumbling bridges, rails, roads, and waterways.

    Trump’s plan counts on state and local governments working in tandem with private investors to fork up the cash for projects.

    In overhauling the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, the federal government is only willing to pledge $200 billion in federal money over the next decade, leaving the remainder of $1.3 trillion for cities, states, and private companies.

    Precisely how Trump’s infrastructure program would work remains somewhat of a mystery after his Tuesday night speech, as state transportation officials warned that significant hikes to taxes, fees, and tolls would be required by local governments to fund such projects.

    To get an understanding of the severity of America’s crumbling infrastructure. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has recently published a shocking report specifying more than 50,000 bridges across the country are rated “structurally deficient”.

    If the “structurally deficient” bridges were placed end-to-end, they would stretch 1,216 miles or nearly the distance between Miami and New York City, said ARTBA. Cars, trucks, and school buses cross these 54,259 compromised structures more than 175 million times per day, which it is only a matter of time before another Mississippi River Bridge collapse occurs.

    Here are the highlights from the report: 

    • 54,259 of the nation’s 612,677 bridges are rated “structurally deficient.”
    • Americans cross these deficient bridges 174 million times daily.
    • Average age of a structurally deficient bridge is 67 years, compared to 40 years for non-deficient bridges.
    • One in three (226,837) U.S. bridges have identified repair needs.
    • One in three (17,726) Interstate highway bridges have identified repair needs.
    • Website features listing of deficient bridges by state and congressional district.

    Dr. Alison Premo Black, chief economist for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), who conducted the analysis, said, “the pace of improving the nation’s inventory of structurally deficient bridges slowed this past year. It’s down only two-tenths of a percent from the number reported in the government’s 2016 data. At current pace of repair or replacement, it would take 37 years to remedy all of them.”

    Black says, “An infrastructure package aimed at modernizing the Interstate System would have both short- and long-term positive effects on the U.S. economy.”

    She adds that traffic jams cost the trucking industry $60 billion in 2017 in lost productivity and fuel, which “increases the cost of everything we make, buy or export.”

    Other key findings in the ARTBA report:

    • Iowa (5,067), Pennsylvania (4,173), Oklahoma (3,234), Missouri (3,086), Illinois (2,303), Nebraska (2,258), Kansas (2,115), Mississippi (2,008), North Carolina (1,854) and New York (1,834) have the most structurally deficient bridges. 
    • The District of Columbia (8), Nevada (31), Delaware (39), Hawaii (66) and Utah (87) have the least.
    • At least 15 percent of the bridges in six states – Rhode Island (23 percent), Iowa (21 percent), West Virginia (19 percent), South Dakota (19 percent), Pennsylvania (18 percent) and Nebraska (15 percent)—fall in the structurally deficient category.

    As Staista’s Niall McCarthy notes, U.S. drivers cross those bridges 174 million times a day and on average, a structurally deficient bridge is 67 years old. Dr. Alison Premo Black carried out the analysis for the ARTBA and she has said that if things continue at their current pace, it would take 37 years to repair all of the bridges that need attention. With a total of 5,067 of them, Iowa has the most structurally deficient bridges, followed by Pennsylvania (4,174) and Oklahoma (3,234).

    Infographic: Thousands Of American Bridges Are Falling Apart | Statista

    You will find more statistics at Statista

    Here are the most traveled “structurally deficient” U.S. bridges in 2017:

    In 2007, the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during an evening rush hour commute, sending cars and trucks diving into the river. Thirteen people were killed and 145 were injured. The incident served as an eye opener to America’s deteriorating infrastructure. Ten years later, not much progress has been made in America’s bridges.

    President Trump has undoubtedly over-hyped his proposal for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure program, but for the 50,000 “structurally deficient” bridges across America, it is a race against time for the Trump administration, before the next bridge collapses triggers a mass causality event. We are almost positive this administration does not want this on their plate.

    “Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and — where appropriate — tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit,” Mr. Trump said in his State of the Union address.


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      1. Just goes to show the real state of the Union.
        Be prepared to live within the bridges around you for a long time. (No driving, of course. Horseback, on foot, atv, wheelbarrow, donkey, you get the idea.)

        • We have one bridge on the one road that services this entire section of the island, we are a small community, but do have a terminal care hospital close by and on the same side of the bridge as us, this one bridge is falling apart, all the rebar is popping the concrete all around it, its not big but theres no way around,

          • Nail,
            We have similar problems.
            That is why I bought the mule.
            But my Mule has a rather bad disposition.
            He is aptly named
            Taz, after the Tasmanian devil
            in Bugs bunny cartoons.

            • What you need to do is throw that mule on his side. Keep him immobilized while you flog him all over with a feather duster. Let him up and lay him on his other side and repete. It will make a huge difference. Tie him to a stout tree up high. with a truck innertube between the tree and his halter. Let him fight the innertube. he will eventually give up and be easy to lead.

              • My uncle used to beat his horses with a 2X4.
                His horses were well behaved. His ponies
                were nearly un-controllable and he never hit them.
                I was always taught NOT to hit a mule. They will
                get even someday.
                A lot of us here in Hawaii keep Donkeys
                for guard animals. I want a Peacock, but the
                laws do not allow it. I ended up with a Mule.
                There were no more Donkeys for sale.

                I may try the inner tube trick.
                I like Taz so I do not want to torture
                the guy, but he is strong and a good asset.
                He should outlive me.
                Besides if everything goes wrong
                I can eat him.

                • Uhhhh, why don’t railroads pay for rails?

                  • “Infrastructure Emergency: 50,000 American Bridges Are “Structurally Deficient”

                    The REAL infrastructure Emergency is that 300 MILLION AMERIKANS are mentally deficient!

                    • Ya I’m back to work therefor exposed to the public at large (work, shopping, traffic, etc.). All you have to do is go outside to see that 99.5% of people have:
                      A: No critical thinking ability whatsoever
                      B: little to no common sense at all
                      C: Brainwashed to the max
                      D: Nothing intelligent to talk about
                      E: No driving skills whatsoever
                      F: No integrity whatsoever
                      G: Say they are going to do shit they have no intention of doing
                      H: Think doing stupid shit is normal
                      I: Think it’s ok to just bullshit people
                      J: Have a hive minded, gotta be cool attitude
                      K: Have no ideas of their own
                      L: Have stupid assed excuses for their behaviour
                      M: Have no dignity
                      N: are spiritually bankrupt
                      O: Are mentally bankrupt
                      P: Can’t park a vehicle
                      Q: Use cards for everything
                      R: Believe everything on TV news
                      S: Are addicted to smart phones
                      T: have 0 preps
                      U: Trust the govt.
                      V: Believe in the political dog and pony show
                      W: Have no basic survival skills
                      X: Have no idea how currency works
                      Y: Have no idea what freedom is
                      Z: Believe in communist/socialist ideals (although they think they don’t).


                    • well america, you get what you deserve… you allow these criminal assholes to rob, cheat and steal your money….”loose trillions”!?!!?!! spend trillions on “their” wars and you ALLOW it! you DONT DO SHIT so guess what, you get what you deserve !!! have fun swimming in the river while you check ur status and post pics of your dumbass everyday pathetic lives while keeping up with the Khogs. LMAO

      2. We are becoming more like North Korea all the time. While bridges are falling apart, we will spend millions to host a military parade for the president. It seems we are way off base in our priorities today. Just think of the impact to shipping if a few of these bridges fail.

        • At least the parade is fun to watch,
          They spend billions on illegal immigrants, hundreds of millions on transportation for members of congress, hundreds of millions on benefits for retired congressmen, tens of millions defending congressmen in court,,,,
          What was your point?

          • Nail
            You hit right on the head. When I read this I was thinking the same thing.

            One day when it all falls apart, what are the I want it and you have to give it tom going to do. Only one answer. DIE!

            • Hey sarge, you freezin up there?
              Weather looked sorta nasty in your neck o the woods the other day,
              Stay warm!

          • Nail,
            One of the things I hated the most when I was
            in the military was Parades.
            I always volunteered for Grave shifts
            so I did not have to do that crap.

            I was coming off shift one day and was roped
            into doing morning formation as they were getting ready
            for a parade.
            The First Sergent started gigging me for a dirty
            uniform( I had just spent 6 hours in the empennage
            of a B-52) I said “with all due respect,
            Fuck you”).
            Rather flustered he said “get out of here”.
            Strategic Air Command, was an interesting place to

        • And O’dummy twice ran on fixing all these crumbling roads and bridges and wasted over a trillion dollars. I will worry about Trumps couple of million just like democrats worried about O’dummys wasted trillions, not at all.

          • ???

          • Sounds like there were plenty of shovel ready jobs. Too bad all that money went into his pal’s pockets instead of into the infrastructure.

          • I remember the ‘shovel ready’ projects thing that purportedly was going to help in all sorts of ways. Here in Fairfax County, Virginia, I saw numerous road projects already underway suddenly sporting BO’s signage claiming it was part of Shovel Ready. Gads, those signs were huge (wish I had a picture). I never did see any new projects begun or any other types of projects in the county with newly freed funding. People I know around the US said much the same thing happening in their corner of the county.

            I do wonder where all the money really went. Maybe ‘they’ were working the Russian angle by that time.

        • JAS: The Gov’t has utterly failed us and the damn country about 100%

        • I agree JAS. And I also agree that it will impact shipping. Bridge/road collapses will also result in higher food prices among other problems like fatalities for one other.

          But spending tens of billions on the Wall is apparently first priority even though the illegals can and do use the elaborate tunnel systems to enter the US or just overstay their Visa as many do, or plan to give birth here and get US citizenship that way.

          • I’ll give you something that would really have a significant impact on shipping, at least in my part of the US. In Memphis we have 2 bridges that cross the mighty MS. River. One is the I-40 bridge which we locals nickname ‘the new bridge’ since it was built in the 70s. The other is the I-55 bridge, ‘the old bridge’, which was built way back IN THE EARLY 1900s. In recent years, both bridges have been reinforced only because of the threat from The New Madrid Fault Zone. If one of the bridges goes, that’s serious enough. But if BOTH of them go, someone will be screwed. I-40 and I-55 are only 2 of the main transport routes in the US. My area would be toast and that’s an understatement.

      3. 300 million X $5000 = 1.5 trillion

        Every person in America would need to contribute for this task.
        Yeah, right.
        Let the 1% fund it!!!

      4. so all that bullshit from Obama on all that money for infrastructure went in all these politicians pockets, and many before him

        just look at how rich they all are on a government paycheck

        wake up people , yer getting fleeced daily as your city crashes to the ground

        you think they will stick around when the curtain goes up?

        they will all take the Millions and Millions and run .. probably to Dubai or some place like that

        we need gallows built , and rope twined

        Passports pulled , and hangins to begin

        the next jackhole that thinks you should give up your gun should be looking down the business end of it , because he’s probably the asshole thats planing on you starving as he jets away to some other land

        • Red Hawk: My God man, you are so damn right on the flipping money!! If the people do not wake up and get their asses in gear, well, it is over and the fat lady left town years ago. There are so, so many no good rat bastards that more than deserve to HANG!! And most in the local, state and federal Gov’t go to the top of the line!! All of them have fucked us all royally and we sit back and don’t do a god damned stinking thing about it…WTF.

        • check out the # of solar companies that received billions and two months later bankrupted!!!

      5. Military parade a big joke on the people. The celebration of living in the immaculate shithole built to ease transportation of military hardware at a moments notice should the citizens get uppity thinking they own the place.

      6. Let’s take up a collection for pontoon bridges.
        We can move them around to different locations when the real bridges collapse.

      7. Whereas the state of our bridges, roads, track…. is indeed terrible, I question if it is the Federal government’s responsibility. Seems to me that the problem lies in the place, within the State or even County the deficient structure is. Simplest solution is tolls. Those who use the structure must pay to keep it up. The only real mandate would be to ensure that once the structure was actually paid for, the toll would be removed.

        • Hey bud, not sure if you noticed or not (sarc) but they never really remove or lower fees
          Government is like a disease similar to herpes, never goes away or leaves you alone

          • Nail: that is why we the people, need to HANG ALL of those rat bastards and start over and reclaim this fucked in the rectum nation. God damn man, it is rotting on the outside and we are rotting on the inside…not good, not good at all.

        • I agree with toll’s I used to regularly cross the Walbash river between Ill and Indiana. HWY 141. and paid a toll for the bridge. They used to have a toll booth. But removed it and a transponder attached to the windshield billed the trucking company. The Chester ill bridge over the Mississippi was also a toll bridge. I didn’t mind toll roads and toll bridges.

        • Problem with tolls is a lot of that money goes into someone’s pocket for administration. The North Texas Toll Authority (NTTA) director makes around a quarter million a year. Then, you have all the other employees that go along with it. It would be nice if the money was spent on improvements instead of salaries. The other problem with tolls is they are never ending and never decreasing, even after the original construction costs have been long ago paid.

          I’m against tolls if I am forced to pay them. Several highways in TX have been constructed or upgraded with toll express lanes. These lanes give commuters the choice to pay and drive in them or drive in the non-toll lanes. I’m good with that, just don’t force me to pay tolls after I’ve already paid a gas tax for highway upkeep.

          • Okay – I hear you all who disagree with tolls. I see the main points too. 1. they seem to be eternal 2. too much falls into the hands of people and things not related to the road.3. the general sentiment (me included) is that the entire friggin’ system is rotten and until we fix that… nothing will work. So? What other ideas then? God damn it all, we have to try something. Taxing doesn’t work. All the points above I just typed apply on steroids. What is needed is to reverse that list. The system must be fixed first. That ‘wrecked rectum’ situation must be dealt with. But it is easy to say “no way that’ll do it”. Harder to think about what might. Even worse to say it and get one’s ass handed back to him without a counter-proposal. I swear, it reminds me trying to argue with my ex. Sheeessshh.

        • Worse, it could go like it has in Virginia. Most of our roads are paid for. Now, parts of the interstate (I-95 & beltway) have been sold to the highest bidder. The tolls are less when there is little traffic and increase the more cars that go on it. Of course, there are no toll booths; only cars with E-Z Passes affixed to the windshield (inside) can access the road. (Cars using the road with no E-Z Pass are heavily fined (cameras).

          Oh, the highest bidder? It used to be an Aussie outfit. Don’t know if they are still the owners.

          Yeah, dems running the state are great… 🙁 Can’t outvote the numbers here though.

      8. All that money Obozo supposedly spent for shovel ready jobs went to unions and cronies with no impovments to our raggedy infrastructure.

      9. bear in mind that if you bug out, you will likely be crossing one or more of thee bridges. if they are down due to attack (directly) or vibration from nearby bomb hits or a nuke farther off or failure that just happens then or earthquake, you will be cut off.

      10. “50,000 American Bridges Are “Structurally Deficient.””

        That’s okay. What’s the big deal? The government will do what it always does. Wait for one to fall down and then do something.

        Gotta love these professional politicians.

        If bridges have life spans then why can’t these professional politicians? Term limits. Mandatory term limits. That way we don’t have to watch all these old geezers and biddies collapsing in office from old age. It’s embarrassing enough watching our infrastructure collapse.

      11. “Trump’s plan counts on state and local governments working in tandem with private investors to fork up the cash for projects.”

        In theory, that means that a dividend is guaranteed.

      12. Yes, but since we have a choice of one OR the other and can’t have both, let’s instead build the Wall to the tune of $40 Billion, even though they can take the tunnel or overstay their visa or give birth here before their visa expires or enter through chain migration.

        This way, ICE won’t have to bother hunting them down and send them back to Mexico when they enter via any of these very common methods, and at the same time our bridges, overpasses and underground pipes and other infrastructure will eventually collapse because we spent tens of billions on the Wall instead of the infrastructure.(eye-roll)

      13. My question is, why is everything the responsibility of fedgov? I get the interstate system…but many, many, MANY of those “crumbling” bridges, highways, rails etc. are or should be the responsibility of state and local governments or private shareholders, in the case of tollways and the like. MOST infrastructure has or should have nothing to do with fedgov. I’d like those DC douches out of our lives in every way possible.

      14. The god damned country is literally FALLING apart folks! There is no two ways about it. The US wastes so much damn money and gives away billions to foreign shit hole places, that do NOT even like the US one little bit instead of taking care of the US for a change.This country is truly destined to FAIL, just like the Roman Empire – get ready, it is a coming people!!

      15. Ok so the bridges and roads are in bad shape. If a SHTF -WROL happens no one is gonna be driving anyway? maybe the government knows something is up with the planet? would you fix the leaking roof on your building if you where certain that a tornado was gonna come and blow away the entire structure pretty soon?

      16. The only bridges that the federal government has any responsibility for are on the interstates. The others are on state and county roads. You’ll never see much if any federal money spent on those roads, just on the highly visible interstates.

        My second point is that when they say so many bridges are “structurally” unsound, they are using stringent standards. Most of those bridges will last for many years. Only part of them actually need immediate replacement.

        One bridge that was replaced where I used to live, was replaced only because of politics. It was a perfectly good bridge. They just ordered the DOT to not paint the metal drawbridge part for a number of years so that the paint was peeling. They made it look bad just so they could waste money replacing it with a “prettier” one.

        I’m surprised that VA is marked on the map as being in better shape than NC. The local roads in VA are in terrible shape. I went on one near Richmond, VA that was an actual numbered state highway. It wasn’t even wide enough for two cars to pass safely. NC has always been the “Good Roads State.” NC has more miles of paved roads than any other state, except for TX. We are preparing right now to upgrade hundreds of miles of state highways to interstate quality. They’ve already put up the “Future I-___” signs showing the new numbers.

      17. Also, if you look at the list of most-traveled “deficient” bridges, NC is not on that list at all. NC has a lot of “deficient” bridges because NC has a lot of roads and therefore a lot of bridges. You can’t drive more than a mile or two around here without having to cross water, and most of those crossings are bridges, where some other states just use big culverts in place of bridges.

        That bar chart above left off a number of states with a higher percentage of “deficient” bridges. It’s misleading.

      18. Bad example in the story. The I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed BECAUSE it was being rebuilt. The contractor overloaded the bridge with construction materials and heavy equipment.

        “Structurally deficient” is a loaded term. It could mean anything deviating from current standards. This could mean as “shoulder too narrow” or “maximum load” which was adequate when it was built, but not the current standard. Dangerous bridges must be replaced now, but not every “deficient” bridge must be replaced promptly.

      19. I’m an engineer.
        I know how to design things
        that work.
        You can make something that
        will last forever,
        but you can’t always afford to
        build it.

        One lesson I held to and is still
        true is that 2/3 the cost of any thing
        you design is maintaining it.

      20. If left to the individual states, etc., the bridges& everything built are going to be different from community to city, state. Roadways will not be uniform in any respect not to mention if you try to use a bridge or road redone in say, Illinois, they will put in a toll booth. The funding should come from the salary of every politician in the country. They could all give 1 month of their salary they have not been earning. We can cut out at least 2 Fed. agencies, NSA, CIA, do the same thing, why? Homeland Security, DOD,FBI, ICE all do the same job, unnecessary. There is more than the amount needed for 10 years. Problems solved.

      21. All we need to fix these bridges is a few good Nazis. The real WW2 Germans could repair a bombed out bridge so fast and so well even their enemy prisoners were amazed and won over.
        Too bad so many good men died on both sides.


        • are not is

          I wouldn’t want to alert the grammar Nazis.


      22. Is it only me that noticed that the states requiring the most funding for infrastructure are democratic hell holes?

      23. Realistically we need to put more emphasis on rails and public transportation.

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