Six-billion dollars is about all it would take.
That amount, say state officials, would go far toward fixing about 1,500 bridges in the state that are in need of serious repair.
Here’s a snapshot look at the overall state of Ohio’s 27,000-plus bridges.
For starters, a good number of them have dubiously merited the tag “structurally deficient” that has been applied to them by the United States Department of Transportation in its 2013 report on bridges across the country. That term means that an important element of a bridge — its deck, say, or its substructure — is in poor condition or even worse.
The solace that Ohio residents can take in knowing that they are not alone in dealing with bad bridges is undercut by the sheer problem posed nationally by obsolete and failing infrastructure.
Recent analysis of the information released by the DOT indicates that there are more than 63,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. About 2,240 of them are in Ohio, which places the state as 11th in terms of the overall number of compromised bridges within its borders. Ohio ranks 37th in terms of deficient bridges as a percentage of all bridges within the state.
Car accident risks are obviously heightened in Ohio and nationally by the country’s aging bridges, a point implicitly made by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association in its analysis of government data.
A central point made by an ARTBA economist in commenting on the DOT report is that national legislators will need to make brave and sustained efforts to fix what is called the “bridge problem.”
According to ARTBA, nearly 2,700 bridges have been built in Ohio since 2004. Since that time, 1,343 bridges have reportedly undergone major reconstruction.
Source: ForConstructionPros.com, “More than 63,000 U.S. bridges need structural repair” (source: American Road & Transportation Builders Association), April 24, 2014