- Out of the nation's 614,387 bridges, nearly four in 10 are 50 years or older. Structural deficiencies are legion, with 56,007 or 9.1% categorized as approaching the end of their design life. Each day, 188 million trips are made across a structurally deficient bridge, the 2017 ASCE Infrastructure Report Card revealed.
- Although current investment is labeled at $941 billion for all surface transportation funding, approximately $2.042 trillion is needed to return our surface transportation to safe and proper working order, with bridges accounting for $123 billion of that need.
- Each dollar invested in bridge and road repair is worth $5.20 in decreased delays, improved fuel consumption, and improved safety, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
The government has long recognized a need for bridge repair throughout the country. Between 2006 and 2012, roughly $47 billion was spent by both public and private sources, and yet bridges and roads remains in such dire condition that even that staggering amount left a deficit of need of over a trillion dollars.
To address the nation's failing bridges, the ASCE recommends the following: Funding from all levels of government must increase to reduce the many structurally deficient bridges that have already passed or are soon approaching their safety limit. Bridge owners must tabulate costs throughout its lifespan, choosing safe design decisions and preparing to fund maintenance.
States should ensure their funding mechanisms (motor fuel taxes or other sources) are high enough to support vital bridge repairs. Raise the ASCE grade from C+ to a B grade or better.