More than a third of bridges need repair, report finds

August 28, 2023

Tyson Fisher


More than a third of U.S. bridges need major repairs or should be replaced, according to a report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

Recently, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association analyzed the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2023 National Bridge Inventory database. The association found that more than 222,000 bridges need repair, which is about 36% of all bridges.

Of those structures, approximately 76,600 should be replaced. Nearly 42,400 are in poor condition. Motorists cross these structures 167 million times per day.

If placed end-to-end, these structures would stretch over 6,100 miles and take over 110 hours to cross at an average speed of 55 mph, according to American Road & Transportation Builders Association Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black. She calculates it would cost over $319 billion to make all needed repairs.

There is plenty of funding for bridge repair available.

The report points out that states currently have access to $10.6 billion from the 2021 federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s formula funds that could help make needed repairs. Another $15.9 billion will be available in the next three years. A new program known as the Bridge Investment Program, administered on a discretionary basis by the U.S. Department of Transportation, provides an additional $12.5 billion that will be awarded for projects through 2026.

States have committed $3.2 billion, or 30%, of available formula funds to 2,060 different projects, with $7.4 billion still coming. Eight states committed more than two‐thirds of their available formula funds: Idaho (100%), Georgia (100%), Alabama (97%), Arizona (88%), Indiana (81.5%), Florida (80%), Texas (78%) and Arkansas (68%). However, 31 states had committed less than 33% of available funds as of June 30.

The good news is that over the past five years, the share of bridges in fair condition has continued to grow as the share classified in “poor” or “good” condition has declined. In 2023, nearly half of all bridges in the U.S. were in fair condition.

bridges graph

“Most bridges are inspected every two years, so it takes time for repairs and rehabilitation efforts to show up in the annual federal data,” Black said in a statement. “What we do know now from other market indicators is that there are more bridge projects in the pipeline.”

To view the full report, click here. LL

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