Home / Debt / Government-Run Bridges: Guaranteed Erosion
Print Friendly and PDF

Government-Run Bridges: Guaranteed Erosion

Written by Gary North on September 16, 2013

This AP story gets the idea across.

An Associated Press analysis of 607,380 bridges in the most recent federal National Bridge Inventory showed that 65,605 were classified as “structurally deficient” and 20,808 as “fracture critical.” Of those, 7,795 were both — a combination of red flags that experts say indicate significant disrepair and similar risk of collapse.

A bridge is deemed fracture critical when it doesn’t have redundant protections and is at risk of collapse if a single, vital component fails. A bridge is structurally deficient when it is in need of rehabilitation or replacement because at least one major component of the span has advanced deterioration or other problems that lead inspectors to deem its condition poor or worse. . . .

The number of bridges nationwide that are both structurally deficient and fracture critical has been fairly constant for a number of years, experts say. But both lists fluctuate frequently, especially at the state level, since repairs can move a bridge out of the deficient categories while spans that grow more dilapidated can be put on the lists. There are occasional data-entry errors. There also is considerable lag time between when state transportation officials report data to the federal government and when updates are made to the National Bridge Inventory.

Many fracture critical bridges were erected in the 1950s to 1970s during construction of the interstate highway system because they were relatively cheap and easy to build. Now they have exceeded their designed life expectancy but are still carrying traffic — often more cars and trucks than they were originally expected to handle. The Interstate 5 bridge in Washington state that collapsed in May was fracture critical.

Cities and states would like to replace the aging and vulnerable bridges, but few have the money; nationally, it is a multi-billion-dollar problem. As a result, highway engineers are juggling repairs and retrofits in an effort to stay ahead of the deterioration.

There is not enough money set aside by states to repair these bridges. These are public utilities. They are not privately owned. They are not priced according to market demand. The money needed to repair them goes to other welfare projects.

As state and local governments are bankrupted by retired workers’ paychecks and health care obligations, the bridges will continue to deteriorate. They are not represented by unions.

Continue Reading on azstarnet.com

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

8 thoughts on “Government-Run Bridges: Guaranteed Erosion

  1. FreeMarketAnarchist says:

    Where I live there is a privately owned highway that you have to pay to use. This highway is cleaned and patched regularly. They just finished installing LED guide lights on the sides of the lanes for when it gets dark. On this highway they offer road side assistance for no additional charge for anyone who may need it. And because the cost to use this highway fluctuates with peak demand, there are rarely any traffic jams. It is my favorite road to drive on and a testament to how well privately owned roads function in comparison to public roads.

  2. Don't you remember???? The "Stimulus" fixed all these bridges with shovel-ready jobs over 5 years ago.

  3. Joe Biden was put in charge of the stimulus funds…..has he ever issued a report on those expenditures?? Just ask Joe…he'll be right out to fix it…..

  4. states need to enact laws that limit tax money collected for "roads" to be spent ONLY on roads. Washington used to have a much-hated excise tax, based on the state's supposed valuation of the vehicle as it depreciates, but we voters mandated it be ended and replaced with a flat fee annual registration. That money collected was supposed to be exclusively for highways and services directly affecitng motorists. The howls of protect that went up naming all the local programmes, agencies, funds, etc, that would "end" or be seriously underfunded revealed that those dollars were just sumped into the general fund, and NOT used on motoring related needs. Of course, it didn't take long for the lawmakers to find al manner of extra charges to add on, so our theoretical thirty dollar a year regiatration just cost me $88. Gas taxes are also supposed to pay for highways, but fuel costs and lower employment have led to a serious drop in that revenue. So, the roads continue to fall apart underneath us.

    It would be good for states to pass laws that mandate ALL fees supposedly for highway relateed expenses are restricted to that use only….. FedGov shouod do the same. WHAT HAPPENS to our federal fuel tax money? WHERE does it go?

    And we need, nationwide, to END all the "prevailing wage laws" that mandate insane pay for even the guy who does gopher work on jobsites…. it makes me FURIOUS to see forve people standing about watching the guy with the backhoe and chatting.. knowing they are costing we taxpayers about fifty bucks an hour to do so. No wonder the cost per mile of new roadways is in the millions, and takes forever.

  5. Which bridges are in the national bridge registry? US highways and interstates or all bridges?

  6. They have lots of new stuff in Iraq, and other places we first destroy then rebuild, this country is managed by RETARDS.

  7. Gas tax is supposed to be for roads and stuff, where Da money at? I guess when the gov't "borrows" from one entity to pay another it's policy. If a company or bank or private person, they are usually labeled criminals, or bad accountants. When a country is manged by inept dolts, the results are easy to see. Hey, remember they keep telling us we are the greatest ever……you know about repeating something over and over, pretty soon it becomes the truth. Keep electing the same morons, and you get a country that is moronic.

  8. Whatever is run by the government is assured of being inefficient and unprofitable. Some say the country is run by retards. That is an affront to retards. The problem with government is that it is usually self serving PC criminals running the show. A good example is today's outburst by Queen Feinstein. She makes a big scene about the need for more gun Control, in the city where gun Control is the highest in America and gun violence is pretty close to the same rating. But this was not a gun violence. crime. This was another typical government process screw up which gave a mentally deficient person not only have but keep a security clearance for several years despite several incidents including arrests and charges, yet the clearance remained intact. You can see the thing that needs attention, is why does the government allow nutcases like Feinstein access to Congress. as well as mentally unstable people clearances to Military sites. Add to that Bill Clinton stopping bases from have armed guards inside cost America another 12 lives. Yet Idiots like Clinton are not only allowed into congress but even into the Whitehouse. God protect America from the Government nutcases.