Report: One in 10 Michigan Bridges Ranked 'Structurally Deficient'
Sunday, July 7, 2013
It's a concrete problem.
Crumbling and cracking concrete to be exact.
A new report from Transportation for America out Wednesday ranked several bridges in the area as being "structurally deficient" and in need of repair.
And with a permanent funding plan for Michigan's road repairs still up in the air, Mike Nystrom with the Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association said it's only going to get worse.
"We aren't investing adequately in our system," Nystrom said. "The bridges are showing it, this study proves it, you don't want to scare people but yet understand that a 'structurally deficient' bridge means that there's something wrong with it."
Nystrom said MIchigan's poor road conditions end up reflecting badly on the entire state.
"We're wanting new business to come to Michigan," he said. "How can we expect businesses to invest in our state if we aren't investing in ourselves?"
But on the bright side, several of the problem bridges identified in the report are either on M-DOT's list to be repaired in the next few years or are already being addressed.
M-DOT's Kari Arend said they currently have 34 bridges under repair just along the I-496 corridor alone and many other bridge project along U.S. 127 and elsewhere.
"A lot of those repairs are preventative maintenance to keep those bridges along the corridor in good condition," Arend said.
But even so, there continues to be a lack of funding for repairs. Gov. Snyder has been pleading with Michigan lawmakers for $1.2 billion but so far only about $350 million has been set aside.
And M-DOT admits that's not enough to cover every bridge in need right now.
"We would obviously love to do more of these preventative maintenance projects and we can only do those as funding becomes available," Arend said. "So as we do get greater funding we will be able to address more of those needs."
M-DOT works with local counties to inspect bridges about once every two years, sometimes more if necessary.
The report said most bridges are designed to last about 50 years before any major overhaul is needed. The average age of a deficient bridge in Michigan is about 64 years old.
Michigan ranked 18th overall in the report and improved slightly over last year.