• ITVI.USA
    15,308.520
    72.710
    0.5%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.860
    0.050
    0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,298.190
    65.480
    0.4%
  • TLT.USA
    2.690
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.910
    0.010
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.990
    -0.170
    -5.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.530
    0.090
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.790
    -0.030
    -1.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.140
    -0.020
    -0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.270
    -0.130
    -3.8%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,308.520
    72.710
    0.5%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.860
    0.050
    0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,298.190
    65.480
    0.4%
  • TLT.USA
    2.690
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.910
    0.010
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.990
    -0.170
    -5.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.530
    0.090
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.790
    -0.030
    -1.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.140
    -0.020
    -0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.270
    -0.130
    -3.8%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
NewsTop StoriesTruckingWeather and Critical Events

5 states with most structurally deficient bridges

Federal Highway Administration rundown spans bridges from South Dakota to Rhode Island

The 600,000 bridges in the U.S., and the roads they connect, are crucial to the nation’s transportation network. They carry about 3 trillion vehicle miles of travel annually, accounting for about 85% of the total value of freight shipped in the U.S.

However, more than 46,000 bridges are structurally deficient, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and some may be dangerous for truckers. Structural deficiency doesn’t necessarily mean all of these bridges are unsafe, but it does mean that the FHWA rated the condition of at least one of their key elements — deck, superstructure, substructure or culverts — as poor.

These are the five states with the highest percentages of structurally deficient bridges in 2019.

No. 5: Pennsylvania

Of the 22,911 bridges in Pennsylvania, the FHWA classified 15.3% (3,501 bridges) of them as structurally deficient in 2019. This is down from 4,701 bridges in 2015.

About 100 of the state’s structurally deficient bridges are on interstate highways. Nine of the 10 most traveled structurally deficient bridges were in Philadelphia County, which includes the entire city of Philadelphia. The most traveled was the I-95 bridge over Comly Street, near the Wissinoming section of the city. The bridge was built in 1967.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced in March 2020 that construction would begin later that month on a project to reconstruct and improve I-95, including replacement of the bridge above Comly Street. Construction of the northbound lanes could be done by autumn 2021, with southbound work finished in 2022.

No. 4: South Dakota

Of the 5,821 bridges in South Dakota, the FHWA classified 17% (991 bridges) of them as structurally deficient in 2019. This is down from 1,066 in 2015.

Only three of the state’s structurally deficient bridges are on interstate highway systems. Four of the 10 most traveled structurally deficient bridges were in Minnehaha County, which includes the city of Sioux Falls. However, the most traveled one was in Brown County, where U.S. Highway 12 crosses Moccasin Creek near Aberdeen. The bridge was built in 1954 and was rated the most structurally deficient bridge in South Dakota in 2018.

Bruce Schroeder, an engineer with the South Dakota Department of Transportation, told FreightWaves that the Highway 12 bridge over Moccasin Creek “has received poor superstructure ratings” and “is inspected at regular intervals and there are no safety concerns or load limits. The bridge is scheduled to be replaced in 2026.”

No. 3: Iowa

In 2016, Iowa would have ranked first on this list. Of its 24,043 bridges, the FHWA classified 19% (4,575 bridges) of them as structurally deficient in 2019. This is down from 4,719 in 2015.

Only six of the state’s structurally deficient bridges are on interstate highway systems. The most traveled structurally deficient bridge was the Rock Island Centennial Bridge, which is part of U.S. Highway 67. Despite more than $11 million in structural upgrades in 2005, it remains one of the most structurally deficient bridges in Iowa. Opened in 1940, it stretches across the Mississippi River, connecting Davenport, Iowa, to Rock Island, Illinois. In 2017, the bridge was officially renamed as the Master Sgt. Stanley Talbot Memorial Bridge.

No. 2: West Virginia

Of the 7,291 bridges in West Virginia, the FHWA classified 21% (1,531 bridges) of them as structurally deficient in 2019. This is down from 1,059 in 2015. A little less than half of the structurally deficient bridges were rural bridges on local roads.

More than 90 of the state’s structurally deficient bridges are on interstate highways, and nine of the 10 most traveled ones were on interstate highways. Five of the 10 most traveled structurally deficient bridges were in Kanawha County, and the most traveled one was I-64 over county route 61/12 (Kanawha Turnpike). The bridge was built in 1974.

Tracy Brown, bridge engineer with the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways, told FreightWaves that the bridge’s deck was replaced in 2020. This should raise its rating to “fair” after its next inspection.

No. 1: Rhode Island

Of the 779 bridges in West Virginia, the FHWA classified 22.3% (174 bridges) of them as structurally deficient in 2019. This is down from 176 in 2015.

Twenty-five of the state’s structurally deficient bridges are on interstate highways. Six of the 10 most traveled structurally deficient bridges were on interstate highways, and all 10 of the most traveled structurally deficient bridges were in Providence County, which includes the capital city of Providence. The most traveled was I-95 over U.S. Highway 6. The bridge was built in 1964 and is part of the Providence I-95 Viaduct, which crosses the Woonasquatucket River and Amtrak lines.

This spring, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation will begin an extensive project to rebuild 11 bridges of the viaduct. This includes the construction of a new collector-distributor (C-D) road along one side of the highway, eliminating the weaving conflicts and congestion that plague the segment of I-95 northbound from the U.S. Highway 6-State Route10 connector.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

Related articles:

America’s scariest bridges for truckers
America’s scariest bridges for truckers: Part 2
America’s scariest bridges for truckers: Part 3
America’s scariest bridges for truckers: Part 4
America’s scariest bridges for truckers: Part 5

Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his nearly 20 years of weather forecasting experience, Nick worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV, including time spent doing weather analysis and field reporting. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is also a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” for eight consecutive years. Nick earned his National Weather Association Broadcasting Seal in 2005.

One Comment

  1. Good that bridge conditions are being tracked. Federal funding is lacking to the degree needed to fix these problems.

    Need to do some proof reading before publishing. WV story and Rhode Island both had major typos…