Policy study examines states with bad bridges

C rumbling and deteriorating bridges ha ve been in focus in the last several years. Most recently, scenes of a bridge collapse in Washington State in May have renewed calls for safer structures.

W hen the Interstate 5 bridge near Seattle collapsed in May, many people started asking questions about how safe the nations bridges really are,"can those bridges really hold all of this weight. How long has it been? Sometimes, you may wonder since this has been repaired, when it's been looked into?" asks Chelsea Hoskins. She's driving through Ohio back to her home in Tennessee. Her journey will include driving over many of Ohio's bridges.

P olicy group Transportation for America lays out where structurally deficient bridges can be found on their website.

H oskins says during her drive in the state , there's plenty to be concerned about , "you can look at some of these roads and you can see they really haven't been repaired in a long time and stuff. You see the transitions on the bridge and it can be a cause for concern."

N early 2 ,500 bridges in Ohio are classified as structurally deficient.W hen you think of a structurally deficient bridge, you may think of cracks or even crumbling concrete. But, David Pratt, commissioner with the City of Toledo Division of Streets, Bridges, and Harbor says the term structurally deficient may be a bit too broad, "Structurally deficient does not mean the bridge is going to fall in. It could mean that, but what it means is it doesn't meet current highway standards."

There's plenty of bridges that don't meet standards like the high level bridge as well as the Dorr Street bridge over Interstate 75 in Central Toledo. But Pratt says, there's bridges that fit into another category, "We have some bridges out there that operate fine. There in very good solid condition, but they're rated structurally deficient because they may have been built with 8 foot wide lanes and because of the speed limit and current highway standards it should require 12 feet lanes."

The Ohio Department of Transportation says they perform routine bridge inspections on all 14 ,000 bridges they're responsible for once every year. I nformation from policy group Transportation for America shows Ohio with an 11 percent improvement in bridge repairs compared to other states in the country.