As Collapse of Federal Support for Highway & Bridge Investment Draws Near, More than 1,944 Indiana Bridges Need Structural Repair, New Analysis Finds

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Data from a new government
report show that if all the structurally deficient bridges in the United States
were placed end-to-end, it would take you 25 hours driving 60 miles per hour to
cross them. That’s like driving the 1,500 miles between Boston and Miami. And
it’s a problem that’s close to home.

An analysis of the 2013 National Bridge Inventory database released this month
by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) shows cars, trucks and school
buses cross Indiana’s 1,944 structurally compromised bridges 6,977,075 times
every day.

The problem could get a lot worse, the chief economist for the American Road &
Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) says, as states across the nation
face a slowdown in reimbursements for already approved federal-aid highway
projects in August. Without congressional action, Dr. Alison Premo Black says
there will be no Highway Trust Fund support for any new road, bridge, or public
transportation projects in any state during FY 2015, which begins October 1.

“Letting the Highway Trust Fund investment dry up would have a devastating
impact on bridge repairs,” Black says, noting the trust fund supports an average
$252.4 million annually in Indiana bridge work. “It would set back bridge
improvements for years.”

“The bridge problem sits squarely on the backs of our elected officials,” Black
says. “The state transportation department can’t just wave a magic wand and make
the problem go away. It takes committed investment by our legislators. Members
of Congress need to come to grips with that. Some of our most heavily travelled
bridges were built in the 1930s. Most are more than 40 years old.”

Bridge decks and support structures are regularly inspected by the state
transportation departments for deterioration and are rated on a scale of zero to
nine–nine being “excellent” condition. A bridge is classified as structurally
deficient and in need of repair if its overall rating is four or below.

While these bridges may not be imminently unsafe, ARTBA suggests they be sign
posted so the public knows they have structural deficiencies that need repair.

The ARTBA analysis of the bridge data supplied by the states to the USDOT found:

— Indiana ranks 13th nationally in its number of structurally deficient
bridges–1,944.
— Indiana ranks 24th in the percentage of its bridges that are classified
as structurally deficient–10.0%.
A list of the 10 structurally deficient bridges in Indiana that carry the most
traffic daily is available in the “Economics” section of www.artba.org.

Established in 1902, ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation
design and construction industry in the Nation’s Capital.

SOURCE American Road & Transportation Builders Association

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