Saturday, April 21, 2018
Transportation

Florida among the states with the lowest number of structurally deficient bridges

Florida is home to 265 "structurally deficient" bridges, according to a new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, or ARTBA.

The report examined federal data and found that there are 54,259 bridges rated "structurally deficient" out of the 612,677 bridges in the United States.

Compared to the other states, Florida ranked 49th on the percentage of structurally deficient bridges and 41st on the total number of structurally deficient bridges. There are a total of 12,355 bridges in Florida, according to the report.

The number of structurally deficient bridges is so long that if they were positioned end-to-end, they would stretch 1,216 miles — roughly from Miami to New York City.

These bridges are crossed roughly 174 million times each day, with the 1,800 structurally deficient Interstate bridges being crossed 60 million times daily. The Interstate Highway System is also 48,000 miles long.

Bridges are inspected and rated on a scale from 0 to 9 — 9 means the bridge is in "excellent" condition while a rating of 4 or below gives a bridge a "structurally deficient" classification. That rating typically means that one of the key elements on the bridge is in poor or worse condition.

Bridges in Pinellas and Hernando counties made the list of top most travelled structurally deficient bridges in Florida.

In Pinellas County, a bridge located at State Road 679 over Boca Ciega Bay sees 17,400 daily crossings. The bridge was built in 1961. Kristen Carson, a Florida Department of Transportation representative, said in an email this replacement for this bridge will begin "this year."

For Hernando County, a bridge built in 1965 located at Interstate 75 (State Road 93) northbound over SR-50/US-98/SR-7 was listed as seeing more than 15,750 crossings. Carson said the northbound bride was demolished while its replacement will soon be open to traffic again. North and southbound traffic is shared on the southbound bridge.

RELATED: Shore Acres residents adjusting to 40th Avenue bridge closure

Also according to the study:

• While approximately 2.1 percent of the bridges are classified as structurally deficient, eight of those bridges are on the Interstate Highway System.

• The state has also invested 22.4 percent of highway and bridge contract awards. That’s less than the average of 28.9 percent nationwide.

• In the past 10 years in Florida, 1,357 new bridges have been built while 612 have had some major repairs.

• State officials found that 693 bridges will need repairs with an estimated $1.7 billion price tag.

Alison Premo Black, chief economist for the ARTBA who conducted the report, said in a press release that it would take about 37 years to fix all of the nation’s bridges. Black said repairs have slowed over the past year.

The release of this study comes as President Donald Trump prepares to give his State of The Union address Tuesday. He’s expected to discuss the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

"An infrastructure package aimed at modernizing the Interstate System would have both short- and long-term positive effects on the U.S. economy," Black said in the press release, adding that traffic issues cost the trucking industry more than $60 billion per year.

Those costs raise the prices on "everything we make, buy or export," Black said.

Black also told NBC News the buck stops with Congress on the prevalence of crumbling bridges.

"It really comes down a failure of leadership in Congress to address some of these issues and provide additional funding," Black told NBC News.

A Federal Highway Administration Official told NBC News that the report "underscores the need for investment in our nation’s infrastructure."

"It also highlights the importance of streamlining the permitting process, so that the projects that are funded can move forward without undue delay," the administration told NBC News in a release. "The Department of Transportation looks forward to continuing our work with state and local interests to revitalize the nation’s roads and highways, offering improved safety, new jobs, and a better quality of life for the American people."

Clarification: An earlier version of this story said the Hernando County bridge located at Interstate 75 (State Road 93) northbound over SR-50/US-98/SR-7 sees more than 15,750 crossings daily. The northbound bridge was demolished and traffic now shares the southbound bridge while the northbound replacement is finished.

Comments
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering free rides on Su...
Published: 04/19/18
She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

The pilot’s voice was calm yet focused as her plane descended with 149 people on board."Southwest 1380, we’re single engine," Tammie Jo Shults, a former fighter pilot with the U.S. Navy, said. "We have part of the aircraft missing so we’re going to n...
Published: 04/18/18
Carlton: Thanks, Gov. Scott, for the dreaded trip across Interstate 4

Carlton: Thanks, Gov. Scott, for the dreaded trip across Interstate 4

The other day I had to go to Orlando from Tampa on Interstate 4, which has to be one of the most disliked highways in Florida. And I say this as someone who learned to drive on Miami’s I-95.It turned out to be the same root canal of a trip we’ve come...
Published: 04/18/18
NTSB: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

NTSB: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

PHILADELPHIA — A preliminary examination of the blown jet engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that set off a terrifying chain of events and left a businesswoman hanging half outside a shattered window showed evidence of "metal fatigue," according ...
Published: 04/18/18
Group promoting road safety out in force on 56th Street Monday

Group promoting road safety out in force on 56th Street Monday

TEMPLE TERRACE — If all goes as planned on Monday (April 23), at least 100 people will line the sides of one of the most dangerous stretches in Hillsborough County — 56th Street between Sligh Avenue and Busch Boulevard — in an effort to get motorists...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Big dig’s big cost: Pasco tunnel idea carries $550 million price tag

Big dig’s big cost: Pasco tunnel idea carries $550 million price tag

NEW PORT RICHEY — Construction costs to tunnel under U.S. 41 in central Pasco could top a half-billion dollars, four times the projected price of building elevated lanes above the highway’s intersection with State Road 54.The cost estimate, said Comm...
Published: 04/17/18
Dr. Delay: How to find out if you qualify for a speed hump; updates on the Pinellas Bayway

Dr. Delay: How to find out if you qualify for a speed hump; updates on the Pinellas Bayway

I live in St. Pete and would like to know how I could go about getting a speed hump installed on my street. Where do I start?Manuel Reyes, St. PetersburgThe place to start would be by contacting the St. Petersburg Neighborhood Transportation Manager,...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
He got fed up with Miami traffic, so now he commutes with dolphins and pelicans

He got fed up with Miami traffic, so now he commutes with dolphins and pelicans

Parker Lake got sick of the rat race. Sick of working in a cubicle. Sick of commuting on Miami’s mean streets. Sick of being overweight from sitting at a desk or in traffic jams.So Lake quit his unfulfilling job, sold his car and moved to a house on ...
Published: 04/09/18
A sixth person killed by the high-speed Brightline train in Florida

A sixth person killed by the high-speed Brightline train in Florida

The Brightline train fatally struck a man Sunday, bringing the total killed by the train to six people since it began test runs last year.The Delray Beach Police Department announced on Twitter that a pedestrian was hit Sunday by a northbound Brightl...
Published: 04/09/18
Dr. Delay: Will the lights at 87th Avenue N and Fourth Street cause extra congestion?

Dr. Delay: Will the lights at 87th Avenue N and Fourth Street cause extra congestion?

Massive new street signals were erected at the intersection of 87th Avenue N. and Fourth Street, just four blocks north from the light-controlled intersection at 83rd Avenue N. At the same time a new WaWa store/gas station is being constructed near 8...
Published: 04/09/18