Speakers and Congressional representatives at a House Transportation Subcommittee meeting in July heard that 25 percent of the bridges in the United States have been classified as "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete" by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
According to a report at StarTribune.com, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz, who was at the meeting commented, “It’s only a matter of time before it’s another one in the river,” making reference to the 2007 Interstate-35 bridge collapse in that state.
The FHWA data cited in the StarTribune.com news report indicates that “the number of deficient bridges has declined by nearly 12 percent since 1998, but about 150,000 bridges—nearly one in four—still are considered deficient.”
Bridges termed as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete are substandard but not in danger of collapsing or failing, according to the news item.
Testimony from a Virginia Department of Transportation engineer cited “skyrocketing construction costs, increased highway traffic and an aging system of bridges built with the interstate system [in the 1950s and 1960s] as critical factors.
Additionally, some states are transferring up to 50 percent of their earmarked bridge funds to other purposes, according to one House Transportation Subcommittee panelist.
The full article can be read at http://www.startribune.com/politics/98978899.html?page=1&c=y.