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10 percent of US bridges classified as needing urgent repairs

Just how safe are the roads and bridges that we travel on every day in New York? Most drivers might not give the idea any attention. After all, would government officials allow motorists to travel on bridges they knew to be unsafe?

While a recent report indicates that more bridges than many folks might have thought are in dire need of repair, it doesn't indicate that these structures are in imminent danger of falling down around us. It does raise issues, though, of the general health of our infrastructure.

A recent report compiled by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association shows just how widespread the issue is. According to the report, about 10 percent of bridges in the country need urgent repairs. This represents more than 63,000 bridges out of about 607,000 around the country.

While the report does not blame any car accidents on the condition of the bridges, it is eye-opening to realize just how many structures are affected. These bridges are used a quarter of a million times every day by cars, trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles. Many of the bridges on the list are on interstate highways.

Making matters worse, some states might have a severe lack of funding to address their bridge repair needs if the Highway Trust Fund does not receive an influx of money from Congress. The fund is replenished by fuel taxes, but those are becoming less reliable as a source of income as overall fuel use decreases. Regardless of the outcome, it may make many drivers think twice when they drive over a highway bridge.

Source: Reuters, "One in ten U.S. bridges in urgent need of repair: report," Elvina Nawaguna, April 24, 2014

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