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Study shows increase in structurally deficient Idaho bridges

By Christina Jensen
Published On: Jun 10 2014 07:42:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 10 2014 07:42:22 PM CDT

A new study by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration shows most of the bridges you're driving on are not safe.

IDAHO -

A new study by the Federal Highway Administration shows most of the bridges you're driving on are not safe.

The Idaho Transportation Department checks bridges in Idaho every two years to make sure they're safe. But Idaho is behind other states when it comes to having sound bridges and it all comes down to money.
 

Experts are warning if Congress doesn't increase funding, the number of troubled bridges could start climbing. ITD spokesman Bruce King said money is one reason the Gem State saw an increase in the number of structurally deficient bridges from 2007 to 2013.

"Over the years construction costs have increased and our buying power has declined, so we're limited on the number of projects we can construct each year," said King.  
 

Federal data show out of 4,232 bridges in Idaho, more than 400 are structurally deficient. Structurally deficient means those bridges need to be replaced soon. According to ITD's website, there are about eight structurally deficient bridges in southeast Idaho. Two of them are in this area of Blackfoot. To see where the bridges are located, click here, http://nationalbridges.com/.

"When we inspect county and city bridges we send a report to local governments, explaining our findings and providing our recommendations for them to use as they see fit," said King.

King said ITD is concerned about the number of troubled bridges, but so are other agencies across the nation. In the end, it all comes down to the cost. King said fuel taxes have not been raised at the state level for 20 years, making ITD's revenue fall flat.

If our bridges do get to a point where they are not safe to drive on, ITD will shut them down. ITD will inspect the bridges that are structurally deficient every six months.

Idaho is one of nine states that saw the number of structurally deficient bridges increase since 2007. Wyoming was also included in that list. To read the study click here, http://www.governing.com/news/headlines/gov-under-scrutiny-states-trim-list-of-bad-bridges.html#data.

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