Indiana’s Structurally Deficient Bridges Are a Highway Safety Concern

bridge.jpgA new report by Transportation for America ranks Indiana at number 26 on a list of the states with the most number of structurally deficient bridges in the country. It’s an honor that should cause great concern to Indiana transportation safety and legislative circles and Indiana personal injury attorneys, given that according to the report, close to 11% of our bridges are structurally deficient.

In fact, according to the Transportation for America report, 10.6% of Indiana’s bridges are structurally deficient, with a total of 1, 968 such bridges in the state. Indiana’s rate of 10.6% is just slightly better than the average national rate of 11.5% structurally deficient bridges.

Some of the most dangerous bridges in the country can be found in Pennsylvania, where 26.5% of the bridges are structurally deficient. Pennsylvania is followed by Oklahoma, Iowa, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, West Virginia, North Dakota and Mississippi. Bridge safety is the highest in Nevada where 2.2% of the bridges are structurally deficient. Other states ranking at the bottom of the list include Colorado, Georgia, Oregon, Tennessee, Delaware, Washington, Utah, Arizona, Texas and Florida.

Some of the statistics in the report give rise to concern. For instance, according to the report, one of every nine bridges that American motorists cross everyday is structurally deficient to some degree. Across the country, approximately 70,000 bridges have been rated as being structurally deficient.

A structurally deficient bridge is one in which one of the three components is rated at a score of four or less. These three components include the superstructure which supports the deck, the substructure which supports the superstructure, and the deck which is the top surface of the bridge and is the surface on which vehicles travel.

Much of the bridge infrastructure in the country is aging fast. Most bridges are constructed to last for 50 years, and the average age of America’s bridges is 42 years. That means that our current bridges are fast approaching the end of their life span, adding to their safety concerns.