55,309 structurally deficient bridges in the U.S. in 2016

25 Years of U.S. Bridge Data Reveals Steady Condition Improvements and Highlights Big Challenges Ahead

Infrastructure Data Solutions, Inc. (IDS) predicts an upward spike in structurally deficient bridges within 20-30 years

Sustained funding and improved practices over the past 25 years have led to a steady improvement of the condition of U.S. bridges. The latest National Bridge Inventory (NBI) data released by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration reveals a remarkable decline of structurally deficient bridges to 55,309 (9% of nationwide inventory) in 2016 from 118,757 (21% of the inventory) back in 1992. Since last year alone, the number of deficient bridges dropped by 2,735. However, the number of functionally obsolete bridges nationwide has dropped slightly from 80,461 in 1992 to 75,703 bridges in 2016.

Between 1992 and 2016, the number of structurally deficient bridges has been on a downtrend in most states. New York has seen the largest reduction from 9,884 (57% of the state inventory) to just 1,885 (11%). Other significant reductions were in Missouri (27%), Mississippi (21%), and Oklahoma (20%). The five states with the highest number of structurally deficient bridges in 2016 are Iowa (4,931), Pennsylvania (4,410), Oklahoma (3,414), Missouri (3,147), and Nebraska (2,326). California continues to have the highest total deck area of deficient bridges, followed by Louisiana, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

Downtrend of structurally deficient bridges in the U.S. between 1992 and 2016
Downtrend of structurally deficient bridges in the U.S. between 1992 and 2016

“Despite overall condition improvements over the past 25 years, big challenges lie ahead,” says Infrastructure Data Solutions, Inc. (IDS) President Dr. Mahmoud Halfawy. Approximately 1 in 5 bridges in the U.S. is in need of some improvement. The analysis undertaken using NBI Benchmarking™ software also reveals that the total deck area of bridges built in the 1960s and 1970s represents almost 35% of the total deck area of nationwide inventory. Many of these bridges will soon be due for major rehabilitation or replacement.

“Based on our analysis, the average age of bridges nationwide is 36 years, and given that the average design life of most existing bridges is 50 years, a big wave of structurally deficient bridges is expected to spike over the next 20 to 30 years.” With current levels of funding available to agencies, it is extremely challenging to keep up with the expected needs. “To sustain past progress, agencies will need to get aggressive in implementing new efficiencies and introduce innovation in bridge preservation, programming, and project delivery.”

Analysis results of National Bridge Inventory data can be accessed at NBIBenchmarking.com

Bridges News

IDS wins ASCE Innovation Contest Award

We are proud to announce that IDS has won the first ASCE Innovation Contest Award for our submission titled: “Innovative Software for Optimal Long-Term System-Level Preservation Planning of Bridges.” The IDS’ submission won the “Most Efficient” award in the category of “Innovative Business Models.” According to ASCE Contest guidelines, this category covers “new and effective business models and technologies for lower costs and improved quality in civil engineering projects.” It also covers innovations to “mitigate risks and lower existing barriers to innovation within the civil engineering industry.”  The Innovation Contest focused on addressing the ASCE Grand Challenge, “a ten year effort to reduce the life cycle cost of infrastructure by 50 percent by 2025 and foster the optimization of infrastructure investments for society.” Winning this prestigious award is a great testimony of our leading-edge innovative solutions.

Read ASCEnews announcement at http://blogs.asce.org/asce-innovation-contest-selects-15-winners-with-greatest-potential/