Iowa 1st, Illinois 3rd in ‘structurally deficient’ bridges

State News

The new I-74 bridge was opened for a media tour on November 11, 2020. The bridge is scheduled to open three Iowa-bound lanes on November 13, 2020. (Zack Winiecki, OurQuadCities.com)

More scenes like the one above will be coming to a state near you.

Iowa tops the list of structurally deficient bridges in the United States and Illinois places third, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration.

The NBI says structurally deficient means “one of the key elements is in poor or worse condition.”

Of the 23,982 bridges in Iowa, 4,571, or 19.1 percent, are classified as structurally deficient. This means one of the key elements is in poor or worse condition.

This is down from 4,671 bridges classified as structurally deficient in Iowa in 2016. The deck area of structurally deficient bridges accounts for 10 percent of total deck area on all structures. Six of the structurally deficient bridges are on the Interstate Highway System. A total of 99.5 percent of the structurally deficient bridges are not on the National Highway System, which includes the Interstate and other key roads linking major airports, ports, rail and truck terminals.

Just under half of the structurally deficient bridges in Illinois are on “rural local roads,” according to the NBI report. Illinois has 26,848 bridges in the state, meaning 8.8 percent of its bridges are classified as structurally deficient. Illinois ranks 15th among all states in the percentage of structurally deficient bridges. West Virginia takes the unfortunate top spot in this category with 21.2 percent of its bridge inventory in dire need of repair.

Illinois has identified 4,083 bridges that need repair, including more than 1,500 bridges that need to be replaced outright. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) estimates it would cost $5.6 billion to fix, repair, or replace those bridges.

Iowa has identified needed repairs on 15,308 bridges at an estimated cost of $3.1 billion.

Kevin S. Held of Fox 2 in St. Louis contributed to this report.

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