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Scripps News finds 14,000 US bridges in need of repair or replacement

Altogether, they carry more than 46 million commuters every day.
Scripps News finds 14,000 US bridges in need of repair or replacement
Posted at 11:36 AM, Aug 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-10 11:38:03-04

Despite the push to bolster the U.S. infrastructure, millions of Americans will drive over bridges today that are in need of major repairs.

Some 14,000 bridges identified in a Scripps News analysis have been rated in poor condition for at least a decade. Altogether, they carry more than 46 million commuters every day.

The list of bridges in need of repair — or even replacement — spans the entire country. 

There's the nearly 100-year-old Magnolia Bridge in Seattle that was damaged by an earthquake in 2001. Now with faded concrete, cracks and other damage, thousands of commuters still pass over this bridge every day.

Outside Denver, a neglected bridge passing over six lanes of U.S. Route 85 has spindly cracks covering the bottom of its concrete deck.

And In Massachusetts, it will take $4 billion to replace the ailing Sagamore and Bourne bridges that connect Cape Cod with surrounding communities. A 2019 study concluded that improvements were needed but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and maintains the bridges, learned it will not be awarded funding in the first round of the bipartisan infrastructure law that was passed in 2021. At this time, all potential repair options are conceptual and no final plan is in place.

Kent Harries is a structural engineering professor at the University of Pittsburgh and he says the list of bridges in disrepair is only getting longer.

"We've been neglecting our infrastructure pretty much since we built it," he told Scripps News.


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