Infrastructure Emergency: 50,000 American Bridges Are "Structurally Deficient"

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.


In fact, 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.


Déjà view zorba THE GREEK Thu, 02/08/2018 - 21:41 Permalink

'Loan' & Toll Star State...

Texas Roads Paved With Taxes, Tolls and Debt


$40 Billion Texas leads the country in Road Debt. Unpaid debt payable to Toll Road companies with interest and profits.…


Texas has racked up $23 billion in road debt and will spend an estimated $31 billion retiring it over two decades, lawmakers said.
We basically have used the credit card the last 10 years to fund highways,” Eltife said. “We’ve got to stop the debt and get back to a pay-as-you-go basis. It would have been far more conservative to raise taxes 10 years ago and not have this debt.”

Wall Street profits from foolish Tejas debt serfs...

Si Señor! GraciA$$ Rick Perry initiatives NOT 'W' ! ♠

In reply to by zorba THE GREEK

Lucretius Automatic Choke Fri, 02/09/2018 - 03:57 Permalink

Nevada has stunningly beautiful roads compared to AZ, my home. Prolly due to all the discretionary funds spent there. While the MYTH of a great tax code there might contribute, I'd speculate that it has to do with demographics   , that and federal/feral presence in your jurisdiction.

 I'll deal with my couple of miles of two track versus .guv idocracy. I maintain my few miles of "road". It seldom rains in the desert, and higher thinking beings know better than to drive into running water. That's why I buy in quantity (and quality) and stay home and sit out the weather and mud   . It does however provide lots of entertainment, nothing is funnier than watching F"tards flail/ fail! Moar popcorn.

Peace, L.

In reply to by Automatic Choke

CNONC Samuel Culper Thu, 02/08/2018 - 23:07 Permalink

Structurally deficient means poor condition of structure or road deck, load carrying capacity below modern design standards, or frequently overtopped by flood waters.  Very few of these bridges, which represent less than 10% of the total number, are in any sense "crumbling."  Note the large number in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.  Many of these are bridges which have been flooded a few times due to higher flood crests resulting from development, and old rural bridges which were built in 50s and 60s and can not, by design, handle 80,000 GVW trucks with 53' trailers.  Trucks have to abide by "bridge laws" which specify not just the axle weight and gross weight but also the axle or axle set spacing.  Most of these bridges have been bypassed by larger, interstate or interstate style roads. 

In reply to by Samuel Culper

Stas CNONC Thu, 02/08/2018 - 23:52 Permalink

So true CNONC. I was a Civil Engineer for 25 years and just recently retired. Started out as a bridge designer.

The group that put this report together as well as a previous report by ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) are all going to give the worst case scenarios so that they can get more construction contracts (builders) or consulting fees to do the design (engineers). Follow the money as usual.

As always, figures lie and liars figure.

In reply to by CNONC

Blankone CNONC Fri, 02/09/2018 - 00:12 Permalink

Structurally deficient means some portion of the structure or deck is in need of repair/maintenance. If the concrete deck has spalling, which can be fixed with a properly bonded patch the bridge is structurally deficient. Structurally deficient does not mean the bridge is in poor condition, nor does it imply it has reduced load capacity and it does not mean the bridge has reduced safety to the public.

The rating is usually from 0 to 9. You could reasonably get a higher rating and still be structurally deficient due to the need to patch.

While some older bridges cannot handle the trucks of today that does not mean they are damaged in any way. They are load restricted. And I am not aware of this being allowed on any interstate highways, main state freeways etc.. You tend to find those on secondary highways (state highways). Perhaps things are different on the east coast. Now if a state wants to tax itself to replace state bridges to remove weight restrictions,fine, nothing has been stopping them.

The term "Structurally Deficient" is focused upon to mislead the public and push for tax dollars to be spent.

Here is a better summary:
Structurally deficient means that a bridge requires repair or replacement of a certain component. This may include cracked or spalled concrete, the bridge deck, the support structure, or the entire bridge itself. If the condition is such that it no longer is able to carry its intended traffic loads it may be weight restricted. Being structurally deficient does not imply that the bridge is in danger of collapse or unsafe to the traveling public. If a bridge is open then it is considered safe.

In reply to by CNONC

Déjà view Blankone Fri, 02/09/2018 - 01:40 Permalink

Every bridge has a 'Silver' lining—eventually!

“The Silver Bridge collapse was a national wake-up call and inspired a much more aggressive effort to inspect and maintain bridges across the country. In fact, this tragedy propelled the nation into a new era of bridge safety,” Hendrickson said in a statement.

She is referring to National Bridge Inspection Program, which was fully implemented in 1971. FHWA attributes the Sliver Bridge collapse for ushering in “a new era of bridge safety,” helping to set federal standards and requiring mandatory inspections every two years of the nation’s bridges.…

Dec. 15, 1967

In reply to by Blankone

Boris Badenov Samuel Culper Fri, 02/09/2018 - 07:57 Permalink

"David Stockman Ruins The Perennial Myth Of Crumbling Infrastructure", ZH 4/29/2014…


"It seems that of the 100 most heavily traveled bridges in the US by rank order, and which are in need of serious repair, 80% of them are in California!

There is no obvious reasons why taxpayers in Indiana or North Carolina needed to be fixing California’s bridges— so that it can continue to finance its outrageously costly public employee pension system.

At the end of the day, the ballyhooed national infrastructure crisis is a beltway racket of the first order. It has been for decades."

-D. Stockman

In reply to by Samuel Culper

MEFOBILLS Déjà view Thu, 02/08/2018 - 23:56 Permalink

 It would have been far more conservative to raise taxes 10 years ago and not have this debt.”

The proper way to do it is to use debt free money to build infrastructure.  You then use Georgist style taxes on land along the route.

A general tax lands on the whole of the population, yet only those owners along the route get a windfall.  In effect it is stealing from the general population and giving to a select few.

Little Jack Horner sat in his corner eatin his puddin n pie, put in his thumb and pulled out a plum, and said what a good boy am I.

Unearned income has many forms, but it is still rents and stealing.  

Since we are too stupid to emit the right kinds of money and to tax properly, another way is to issue low interest loans.  Eventually with a low interest loan, paying down loan principle will "disappear" former credit as said credit drains into ledger.  But, this way can cause inflation and Jack Horner gets his plum.

Texas going into debt to make toll roads, is not the low cost solution.   History of toll roads is that they go on forever, taking "tolls" as a form of tithe to bloated government.  If you want to build a toll road, then State's like North Dakota, which have state banks, will issue the loan.  In that way the interest on the loan cycles back to the State, rather than being siphoned off to Spain.

In case of Texas, a lot of toll road Debt points at Spain, so Texans are paying bond holders in another country - in some cases debt term will be for 80 years.  

Liberals don't have a monopoly on stupidity.  In Texas they even could have raided Teacher Retirement Funds to build the Toll roads, and that way any toll payments would help teacher retirement.  But no, foreign bankers and bond holders must get paid first.

In reply to by Déjà view

Eyes Opened zorba THE GREEK Fri, 02/09/2018 - 04:04 Permalink

This is a funny coincidence...

In the Hypersonic Strike Aircraft thread a couple days ago...…


I said

"See this is we can't have nice things... like education/ infrastructure/ health..."

I was promptly called a SJW by one commentor , berated by others ... & Shovelhead commented about us (I'm Irish) bailing out banks with OUR money....

Another commentor attributed tech developments to the military so its money well spent.... (Browncoat ?)

$21trillion would have bought a LOT of infrastructure... just sayin... 😒

In reply to by zorba THE GREEK

Endgame Napoleon peopledontwanttruth Thu, 02/08/2018 - 21:57 Permalink

How about spending the $116 billion per year, allocated to the upkeep of illegal aliens, for bridge repair. It is irresponsible to let bridges go unrepaired, especially with increasing amounts of traffic, partially because we admit 1 to 1.5 million legal immigrants each year, in addition to supporting umpteen-million illegal immigrants. If this country can afford that, it can afford to repair bridges. Only problem: Swamp Congress spent all the money on a big tax cut for the wealthy, with even more (doubled) child-tax-credit welfare to reward citizens, legal and illegal immigrants for reproducing.   

In reply to by peopledontwanttruth

Eyes Opened Xena fobe Fri, 02/09/2018 - 07:34 Permalink

"At least we get something for defense spending"...


Huh ??

I'm assuming /sarc here... because if not, well, .... I just don't know quite WHAT to say ...

You get death & destruction all across the globe... is THAT what you are talking about ?? 


You get blind Navy ships...

You get F35....

You get gender reasignment recruits...

You get MILLIONS on training a terrorist or 2....

You get dead US soldiers....

Feel free to add any more wonderful things you get for your MIC expenditure folks...


In reply to by Xena fobe