Some ugly numbers on deficient bridges
The Reason Foundation has posted up some data on the number of deficient bridges across the nation. The feds track this stuff for obvious reasons (mobility across states, an understanding as to how states are doing and what they are doing with fed money, and also because bridges that are rated ‘deficient’ become eligible for federal funding for repair.
Overall, Reason notes that
The condition of the nation’s highway bridges continued to improve from 2004 to 2005. Of the 596,980 highway bridges in the current National Bridge Inventory, 147,913—about 24.52 percent—were reported deficient for 2005 (see table), a slight improvement from 2004. In 1998 about 29.0 percent were rated deficient. However, progress is slow; at the current rate of improvement, it would take 50 years for the percentage of deficient bridges to be eliminated.
So how do individual states do? New England as a whole does poorly, and Massachusetts is no exception, coming in at 45th out of 50 states. A whopping 36+ percent of Mass. bridges are rated deficient according to Reason. Even discounting states with relatively new infrastructure, like Arizona and Nevada, there are old infrastructure states like Illinois (17+ percent) and Virginia (22+ percent) that perform so much better than we do. The Reason table follows: