A startling new report released this week by the Associated Press states that more than one hundred Kentucky bridges are in advanced stages of deterioration and “are at risk for collapsing,” the Evansville Courier reported.
The head of the state’s transportation department blames the bridges’ condition on increased and heavier traffic.
The AP evaluated data from the National Bridge Inventory of more than 670,000 U.S. bridges and found that there are more than 65,000 structurally deficient bridges and a startling 21,000 fracture critical bridges in the U.S.
According to the Evansville Courier, a bride is defined as “fracture critical” when the bridge is at risk of collapsing if just one single component fails.
A bridge is deemed “structurally deficient” when it is in need of replacement of at least one major component or span.
The report indicated that 145 bridges in Kentucky are “structurally deficient and fracture critical.” Though Kentucky officials state that 16 of the 145 no longer fall into both categories and 30 of the bridges are scheduled to be replaced within the next six years.
State transportation engineering branch manager David Steel told the Evansville Courier that the state’s bridges are inspected at least once every two years and that much of the damage is caused by increased traffic.
“There’s so much more traffic out there today than there was when the bridges were designed and built,” he said. “Not only is there quantitatively more traffic, but the size of the traffic; the truckloads are heavier than they were 40 or 50 years ago.”
Each year, the state spends $30 million to repair aging bridges.
Are there any bridges you’re nervous to cross?