12 Amazing U.S. Transportation Bridges, and Not Necessarily 12 of the 61,000 that Need Repair!
There are over 215 million daily crossings on 61,064 U.S. structurally deficient bridges in need of repair according to The American Road & Transportation Builders Association's second annual analysis of the U.S. Department of Transportation National Bridge Inventory database.
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More than 61,000 U.S. bridges are “structurally deficient,” many on heavily traveled interstate highways, according to ARTBA’s second annual analysis of the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) National Bridge Inventory database.
Dr. Alison Premo Black, ARTBA’s chief economist, found the number of troubled bridges declined nearly 3.4 percent compared to 2013.
But some 215 million cars, trucks and school buses are crossing the remaining 61,064 troubled bridges daily.
Black warned the problem could get worse if Congress fails to fix the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF), the source, on average, of 52 percent of bridge and highway capital investments made annually by states.
“State and local governments are doing the best they can to address these significant challenges, given limited resources,” Black said. “Without additional investment from all levels of government, our infrastructure spending will be a zero-sum game.”
So far, more than a dozen states have scratched or delayed road and bridge projects because of continued uncertainty over the trust fund. ARTBA expects that number to increase if Congress fails to pass a solution by next month’s deadline.
Bridge investments have increased in recent years, Black said, but often at the expense of highway and pavement spending, which has declined over 20 percent in the last five years. U.S. DOT data shows a backlog of over $115 billion in bridge work and $755 billion in highway projects.
The latest deficient bridge analysis is based on 2014 state transportation department inspections of bridge decks, support structures and other factors, which are rated on a zero to nine scale, nine being “excellent” condition. A bridge is classified as structurally deficient and in need of repair if the overall rating is four or below, though such bridges may not be imminently unsafe.
At least 15 percent of the bridges in eight states are structurally deficient, according to the analysis, which was featured by “USA Today” and other media. Many of the most heavily traveled bridges are approaching 50 years old.
“Elected officials can’t just sprinkle fairy dust on America’s bridge problem and wish it away,” Black said. “It will take committed investment by legislators at all levels of government.”
12 Amazing U.S. Transportation Bridges
1. Brooklyn Bridge
Between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York
The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City and is one of the oldest bridges of either type in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. It has a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m), and was the first steel-wire suspension bridge constructed.
2. Smolen-Gulf Bridge
Between Plymouth and Ashtabula Townships, Ohio
The Smolen–Gulf Bridge is a covered bridge which carries State Road (Ashtabula County Road 25) across the Ashtabula River at the Plymouth and Ashtabula Township line in northern Ashtabula County, Ohio, United States. At 613 feet (182.9 meters), it is the longest covered bridge in the United States and the fourth longest covered bridge in the world.
3. Cornish–Windsor Covered Bridge
Between Cornish, New Hampshire, and Windsor, Vermont
The Cornish–Windsor Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that spans the Connecticut River between Cornish, New Hampshire and Windsor, Vermont. It was the longest covered bridge still standing in the United States until the Smolen–Gulf Bridge opened in Ohio in 2008. It is still the longest wooden covered bridge and has the longest single covered span to carry automobile traffic.
4. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, sometimes only the Causeway, is a causeway composed of two parallel bridges crossing Lake Pontchartrain in southern Louisiana, United States. The longer of the two bridges is 23.83 miles (38.35 km) long. The southern terminus of the Causeway is in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. The northern terminus is at Mandeville, Louisiana.
5. Royal Gorge Bridge
Cañon City, Colorado
The Royal Gorge Bridge is a tourist attraction near Cañon City, Colorado, within Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, a 360-acre (150 ha) theme park. The bridge deck crosses the Royal Gorge 955 feet (291 m) above the Arkansas River, and held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 until 2001, when it was surpassed by the Liuguanghe Bridge in China.
6. London Bridge
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
London Bridge is a bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, United States. It is a relocated 1831 bridge that formerly spanned the River Thames in London, England, until it was dismantled in 1967. The Arizona bridge is a reinforced concrete structure clad in the original masonry of the 1830s bridge, which was bought by Robert P. McCulloch from the City of London.
7. Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
Boulder City, Nevada
The Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is an arch bridge in the United States that spans the Colorado River between the states of Arizona and Nevada. The bridge is located within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area approximately 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, and carries U.S. Route 93 over the Colorado River.
8. Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge - Evergreen Point
The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, officially the Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge, and commonly called the SR 520 Bridge or 520 Bridge, is a floating bridge in the U.S. state of Washington that carries State Route 520 across Lake Washington from the Montlake/Union Bay district of Seattle to Medina. Its 2,310 meters (7,580 ft) floating section is the longest floating bridge in the world.
9. Bixby Creek Bridge
Big Sur, California
Bixby Creek Bridge, also known as Bixby Bridge, is a reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge in Big Sur, California. The bridge is located 120 miles (190 km) south of San Francisco and 13 miles (21 km) south of Carmel in Monterey County along State Route 1. At its completion, the bridge was the longest concrete arch span at 320 feet (98 m) on the California State Highway System.
10. Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the mile-wide, three-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The structure links the U.S. city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to Marin County, bridging both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 across the strait.
11. Mackinac Bridge
Straits of Mackinac, Michigan
The Mackinac Bridge is currently the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world. In 1998, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan became the longest with a total suspension of 12,826 feet. The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere. The total length of the Mackinac Bridge is 26,372 feet. The length of the suspension bridge is 8,614 feet.
12. Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge (commonly known as the “Bay Bridge”) is a major dual-span bridge in the U.S. state of Maryland. Spanning the Chesapeake Bay, it connects the state’s rural Eastern Shore region with the more urban Western Shore. The original span opened in 1952 and with a length of 4.3 miles (6.9 km), was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure.
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