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Bad News Bridges

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Bad News Bridges

A transportation lobby group has issued a new report which ranks Iowa’s bridges as the third worst in the nation. Transportation for America rates 21.2 percent of the state’s 24,465 bridges as “deficient.” Most of the bridges in need of repair are maintained by cities and counties, according to Scott Neubauer (NEYE-bauer, rhymes with ‘high tower’), bridge maintenance and inspection engineer with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

While there are 125 bridges maintained by the state that are identified as structurally deficient, Neubauer says that’s down from roughly 250 just a few years ago. And although the bridges are rated as deficient, Neubauer says that doesn’t necessarily mean they pose an immediate threat to public safety. The report shows the average age of Iowa’s bridges is 44 years old, while the average age of its deficient bridges is 69 years old.

Most rural Iowa bridges that are deemed deficient are marked with warning signs about weight limits. Neubauer says any bridge that can’t handle a load of at least three tons will be closed.

The Transportation for America report states about 1.7 million vehicles travel daily on deficient bridges in Iowa. The report is likely to spur another push for increases in road funding revenues in Iowa.

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