A nationwide report has revealed there are more than 56,000 structurally deficient bridges in the United States. Five of those bridges are right here in Johnston County.
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) report claims 1,900 of the bridges are on the Interstate Highway System. The study claims 41 percent of all US bridges are over 40 years old and have never undergone any major reconstruction work.
The length of the nation’s structurally deficient bridges if placed end-to-end would stretch 1,276 miles, half the distance from New York to Los Angeles, a new examination of federal government data shows. It’s a problem that hits close to home.
In Johnston County, 5 bridges made the list of the top most-traveled structurally deficient bridges.
They include the Highway 42 Bridge over the Neuse River east of Clayton. The bridge was built in 1939 and has an average daily traffic count of 22,000 vehicles.
Second was the Highway 42 Bridge over White Oak Creek near Cornwallis Road west of Clayton. The bridge was constructed in 1947 and carries about 17,000 cars daily. Next was the I-95 northbound bridge over the Little River near Kenly followed by the southbound bridge over the Little River. Both were built in 1956. However, construction is already underway to replace both bridges.
Fifth on the list was the Highway 210 Bridge over Middle Creek near Galilee Road outside of Smithfield. The bridge was built in 1934 and carries about 5,000 vehicles daily.
At the current pace of bridge replacements nationwide, it will take more than 20 years to replace or repair all the bridges identified in the 50 states, according to American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, who conducted the analysis.
“America’s highway network is woefully underperforming. It is outdated, overused, underfunded and in desperate need of modernization,” Black said in the February 20th report. “State and local transportation departments haven’t been provided the resources to keep pace with the nation’s bridge needs.”
To help ensure public safety, bridge decks and support structures are regularly inspected for deterioration and remedial action. They are rated on a scale of zero to nine—with nine meaning the bridge is in “excellent” condition. A bridge is classified as structurally deficient and in need of repair if its overall rating is four or below. While these bridges may not be imminently unsafe, they are in need of attention.
North Carolina is ranked 18th in the nation in the ARTBA study for having the highest percentage of structurally deficit bridges and 11th based on the number of bridges that need replacement.
Established in 1902, Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, news media and the general public.