Report says 1,200 bridges in Alabama are structurally deficient

Alabama road
[Photo Credit: Flicker user formulanone]

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association released a report earlier this year on deficient bridges in the United States, saying 1,200 bridges in Alabama are structurally deficient.

According to the report: there are 16,128 bridges in the state, and 1,200 of those bridges (7.4 percent) are structurally deficient. Alabama ranked number 17 overall in the U.S.

Some experts believe Alabama’s infrastructure problems might cause harm to the state’s economic development efforts, and several of the top-tier state office candidates have commented on how badly the state needs an infrastructure boost.

“Portions of our interstate are simply uncomfortable to drive upon, various bridges in every portion of the state are too dangerous for use, and, as someone who travels a great deal through rural Alabama, I can attest that the roads often feel like driving on broken pie crust,” Guntersville-Republican, State Rep. and Lieutenant Governor candidate Will Ainsworth wrote.

Shashi Nambisan, executive director of the Alabama Transportation Institute at the University of Alabama, told the Alabama Newscenter, that statistics show the state’s infrastructure needs action now.

“Over the last 25 years, there has been a tremendous increase in population, about 20 percent, (an) increase in the number of registered vehicles across the state and, most importantly, the vehicle miles driven across the state,” Nambisan said. “At the same time, we have had just a nominal 14 percent increase in the capacity, the number of new lanes or new lane miles that have been added.”

Some of the most traveled bridges in the state in need of repairs are in the Jefferson and Mobile counties, two of the most populated counties in the state.

American Road and Transportation Builders Association Top 5 most traveled bridges in Alabama
[Photo Credit: American Road and Transportation Builders Association National Bridge Inventory: Alabama]

Other key findings of the report were:

  • 20 structurally deficient bridges in the state are on the Interstate Highway System.
  • Over the last five years, bridge investment has accounted for 26.3 percent of highway and bridge contract awards in the state, compared to an average of 28.9 percent nationwide.2
  • Over the last 10 years, 872 new bridges have been constructed in the state; 90 have undergone major reconstruction.
  • The state has identified needed repairs on 8,572 bridges; which the state estimates will cost $15.3 billion.