Better Bridges 2010 Bridge Inventory
New York State records the fifth-highest percentage of combined SD/FO bridges with 37 percent of its total 17,405 bridges bearing an SD or FO rating. Breaking it down, 39 percent — 3,215 — of New York’s 8,335 total interstate bridges are SD/FO, and 36 percent — 3,230 — of the state’s 9,070 city/county/township bridges are SD/FO.
Next is a tie between Connecticut and West Virginia with 36 percent of their total bridges in SD/FO condition. West Virginia has more total bridges — 2,509 — in SD/FO condition than Connecticut, which has 1,508 rated as SD/FO. But 71 percent, or 78, of West Virginia’s 110 total city/county/township bridge are SD/FO, while only 34 percent — 424 — of Connecticut’s 1,240 total city/county/township bridges are SD/FO.
The states are close in SD/FO state and interstate bridges. Connecticut has 2,934 total interstate bridges with 1,084 or 37 percent SD/FO. West Virginia is 2 percentage points lower at 35 percent, with 2,431 of its 6,896 total state and interstate bridges classified as SD/FO.
Agencies report that environmental restrictions and regulations continue to pose problems for replacing and repairing structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges. This has been a chronic issue in Better Roads annual surveys.
The District of Columbia DOT says such restrictions do affect how well the agency is able to replace or repair bridges, but concedes that “environmental restrictions are [just] a part of working in an urban environment.”
The Nevada DOT says that environmental restrictions do have an impact on its ability to replace or repair bridges by resulting in a longer lead time for design, “but [they] are not insurmountable.”
For the North Carolina DOT, environmental restrictions mean that “funds are diverted from projects to pay for permits [that are] required.”
The Maine DOT also notes that environmental restrictions bring on “increased costs [that] reduce the number of bridges that can be fixed.”
Kentucky is feeling similar financial pains because of environmental regulations. “Sometimes we are required to stay out of the water due to endangered species,” David Steele, branch manager for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, notes in his survey response. “This increases the cost of the job. We then have less money for other bridge jobs.”
In Pennsylvania, permit and regulatory agency requirements are a consideration for project delivery, but don’t necessarily hinder how well the state can replace or repair its deficient bridges, says Long, PennDOT’s assistant chief bridge engineer. “PennDOT funds certain positions within the regulatory agencies as provided under SAFETEA-LU in order to facilitate project delivery,” Long says. “PennDOT also participates in monthly agency coordination meetings, which can also facilitate project delivery.”
Although environmental restrictions do not affect how well Tennessee is able to replace or repair its deficient bridges, they do affect how “quickly and costly (sic) bridges get let to contract for replacement and/or repair,” says Wayne J. Seger, civil engineering manager 2 with the Tennessee DOT’s Bridge Inspection and Repair Office. Michael B. Johnson, the office chief for the California DOT (Caltrans), agrees. He says that “permits slow the replacements and increase development costs.”
Greg Roby, deputy director of structures for the Maryland State Highway Administration, notes in his survey response that the agency is “spending increasing amounts of precious bridge funding to meet environmental (and other) requirements that have little or nothing to do with bridge preservation.”
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