Arizona has third lowest percent of structurally deficient bridges in the U.S.

150 of Arizona’s 8,294 bridges are structurally deficient, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

Out of all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., Arizona ranked 50th for percentage of bridges that need repairs, with almost 2 percent of the state’s bridges having one or more key elements in “poor or worse” condition.

“The new [structurally deficient] definition limits the classification to bridges where one of the key structural elements—the deck, superstructure, substructure or culverts—are rated in poor or worse condition,” John Schneidawind, ARTBA vice president of public affairs, said. “In Arizona this [number] is down from 223 bridges classified as structurally deficient in 2014.”

According to Schneidawind, while the number of structurally deficient bridges in Arizona is down, so is the number of bridge repairs across the country.

“To us, the most alarming finding was that the pace of repair of the nation’s bridges has slowed to a five-year low with only a one percent net reduction of structurally deficit structures,” he said.

This aligns with the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) position that U.S. infrastructure is failing and in major need of repair.

“Every year, America is falling further behind on infrastructure. Today, infrastructure investment is only one-third of what it was in 1960 and without action…we will lose 5.8 million jobs by 2040,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said.

Timmons and NAM recently released a new “Building to Win” proposal to revitalize the country’s infrastructure.

“The nation’s roads and bridges are clogged with traffic, and in many cases, they are in serious disrepair,” the report said. “More than 54,000 bridges across the United States are rated ‘structurally deficient,’ meaning they are in need of significant maintenance and repair. U.S. drivers and passengers cross these structurally deficient bridges nearly 178 million times a day.”

In Arizona, eight of the ten most traveled structurally deficient bridges are located in Pima County and 19 of the 150 structurally deficient bridges across the state are located on an Interstate and endure more than 455,000 daily crossings, according to ARTBA.

ARTBA estimates that Arizona needs to spend $1.4 million on bridge repairs including replacements, widenings and deck rehabilitation.

The biggest thing that would help states improve their infrastructure is for Congress to fix the depleted Highway Trust Fund, which is funded by a federally-imposed gas tax that has not increased since 1993. Its purchasing power has been eroded by inflation, greater car fuel efficiency, and the influx of electric vehicles. Raising the gas tax would be a start,” Schneidawind said.

To view the entire Arizona report, click here.

Emily Richardson

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