There’s a big problem with American bridges: They’re getting old — and falling apart.
According to Transportation for America, there are more than 68,000 structurally deficient bridges in the U.S.
Put end to end, that’s enough to connect Washington, D.C. with Denver.
To shed light on the lack of federal funds for bridge repairs and replacements, Nickolay Lamm created the photo series “The State of Our Bridges,” focusing on his hometown of Pittsburgh, Penn.
The state recently put weight restrictions on several bridges in an effort to reduce wear and tear.
Lamm shared his excellent photos with us, along with commentary provided by Raymond A. Hartle, department manager of bridge management services for GAI Consultants.
We’ve selected 13 photos from Lamm’s series (see the whole thing here), and included Hartle’s explanations, along with the Federal Highway Administration’s “sufficiency rating” for each bridge. A sufficiency score below 50 means the bridge is eligible for federal replacement funds. Under 80 means it’s eligible for federal repair funding.
The Liberty Bridge has a 23.5 sufficiency rating. Hartle says this photo shows paint system deterioration.
According to Hartle, the 28th Street Bridge shows 'advanced corrosion on a primary fracture critical member.' It has a 42 sufficiency rating.
Hartle says you can see 'local failures of the reinforced concrete safety curb/walkway atop a retaining wall.'
You can see 'complete rust thru conditions in the web of a primary member that definitely impacts load rating,' according to Hartle.
Hartle says there's 'advanced loss of bearing area on the concrete pedestal,' which hurts the bridge's weight capacity.
The Larimer Ave bridge over Washington Blvd has a 48.7 rating. The Reinforced Concrete Open Spandrel Arch Bridge was built in the 1930s.
Built in the 1930s or 40s, this Butler Street bridge has typical concrete defects, caused by age and deicing chemicals. Its sufficiency rating is 33.6.
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