Connecting state and local government leaders

The State With the Most Structurally-Deficient Bridges Retains Its Title

Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa


Connecting state and local government leaders

More than 20 percent of its 24,184-bridge inventory is compromised.

Iowa continues to have the most structurally deficient bridges of any U.S. state, a symptom of the broader trend of compromised state infrastructure, according to an American Road & Transportation Builders Association analysis.

ARTBA crunched the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2016 National Bridge Inventory data for the fourth year and found there are 185 million daily crossings on nearly 56,000 bridges with one or more key elements in “poor” or worse condition.

The Hawkeye State has 4,968 compromised bridges—20.5 percent of its 24,184 bridge inventory. That’s second only to Rhode Island’s 24.9 percent with 192 structurally deficient bridges out of 772 total.

“The report’s key takeaway and the most important thing to focus on is that 1,900 bridges on the National Highway Freight Network are structurally deficient,” Alison Premo Black, ARTBA chief economist, said in a statement. “That’s America’s Economic Expressway. Bridge failures or restrictions on that 66,000-mile network should not be an option.”

Premo Black went onto say that any new federal infrastructure initiative should focus on improving the performance of bridges and the freight network while minimizing economic disruptions.

A bridge near Marion, Iowa (Photo by Michael Grass)

After Iowa, Pennsylvania (4,506), Oklahoma (3,460), Missouri (3,195), Nebraska (2,361), Illinois (2,243), Kansas (2,151), Mississippi (2,098), Ohio (1,942), and New York (1,928) had the most structurally deficient bridges.

The District of Columbia (9), Nevada (31), Delaware (43), Hawaii (64), and Utah (95) have the least compromised bridges, with Nevada also having the lowest percentage of its total inventory deficient at 1.6 percent. Repairs on 263 are expected to cost the state $744 million.

About 13,000 Interstate bridges need replacement, widening or major reconstruction across all state transportation departments.

Federal funding provides an average 51 percent of state transportation departments’ capital outlays for highway and bridge projects, per the analysis.

The most-traveled, structurally deficient bridge in the U.S.? Interstate 110 over Dominguez Channel near Los Angeles, which sees 273,760 crossings daily and was built in 1960.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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