STATE — Eleven percent of the nation’s bridges are “structurally deficient” according to a report released this week by Transportation For America, which uses data from the Federal Highway Association.
“Structurally deficient” is an official term in federal inspection guidelines that means a bridge requires significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement, but is not necessarily unsafe to use.
Approximately 10 percent of New Jersey’s bridges — 651 of 6,557 — are rated “structurally deficient,” with an average age of 79 years. Union County fares better than most of the state, with just 19 of 397 bridges rated “structurally deficient.” Middlesex County is closer to the state average, with 39 of 543 bridges deemed “structurally deficient.”
Unfortunately, the situation is likely to get worse in the years ahead. Most bridges are designed to last for 50 years before requiring major overhaul or replacement according to the report’s authors, and the average age of New Jersey’s bridges is 52 years.
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that repairing the nation’s deficient bridges would cost $76 billion.
Transportation For America has provided an interactive map to allow drivers to see the latest inspection data for the bridges that they use.
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