News Legit

How Many U.S. Highway Bridges Are Unsafe?

 The Federal Highway Administration reports that 7.3% of U.S. highway bridges are in poor condition. However, that’s a significant improvement from 2009, when 10.1% of highway bridges were found to be in poor condition.

That’s part of a longer trend showing the nation’s system of highway bridges has been getting better. A CATO Institute review of the data shows that “America’s bridges have been steadily improving for three decades.”

From 1992 to 2017, the FHA used a different system and reported the number of bridges that were structurally deficient. The number of structurally deficient bridges fell significantly during that 25-year span. In 1992, 21.7% of bridges were structurally deficient. By 2017, only 8.9% were in that condition.

Cato notes, “A 2018 Reuters investigation found that an ‘analysis of nationwide bridge data reveals the fretting over the safety of bridges and other road infrastructure is overblown.’

The article noted that structurally deficient bridges need repairs but would be closed if they were actually dangerous. It also noted that America’s roads and bridges compare quite favorably to those in other advanced economies.”

Not a highway bridge, but noteworthy:

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