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Roadscapes Wednesday: Why U.S. Bridges Are In Such Bad Shape


Welcome to the Roadscapes Wednesday segment! Each week here on Geek Alabama, Roadscapes Wednesday will feature roads and infrastructure related topics. Geek Alabama Editor / Publisher Nathan Young is often called the “road geek” for a good reason, Nathan loves roads and loves talking about roads!

America’s bridges are in rough shape. More than a third of the nation’s bridges are in need of repair and over 43,000 are in poor condition and classified as “structurally deficient”. A structurally deficient bridge is one that requires significant maintenance to remain in service. It is often posted with weight limits but is considered safe to use.

Hours ahead of President Biden’s scheduled visit to Pittsburgh in January 2022 to discuss infrastructure, one of the city’s more than 440 bridges collapsed. Ten people were injured including first responders. Another bridge collapsed in Washington State in 2013 and Minneapolis in 2007. And while most of the country’s bridges were designed for a service life of about 50 years the average age of bridges in the U.S. is 44-years. So why are so many of the nation’s bridges in a state of disrepair and what steps are being taken to fix them?

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