Nearly 10 Percent of Connecticut’s Bridges Are “Structurally Deficient”

by Categorized: Data, Finance, Politics, Public Safety Date:

The collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington state Thursday night brings frightening memories of the deadly bridge failure near Minneapolis in 2007 and the collapse of the Mianus River bridge in Greenwich 30 years ago next month. And while the MianusBridgeinvestigation in Washington is just beginning, the collapse also revives lingering questions about the quality and safety of the nation’s 600,000 bridges – including more than 4,200 in Connecticut.

Data from the Federal Highway Administration show that 9.6 percent of Connecticut’s bridges are considered “structurally deficient,” meaning one or more major components is deemed to be in poor condition, defined as “advanced section loss, deterioration, spalling or scour.” (Spalling refers to chipping or flaking of concrete and bridge scour is the phenomenon in which water currents wash away sediment, rocks or other material that surrounds the base of the bridge.) Highway officials caution that the designation of a bridge as structurally deficient does not mean the bridge is unsafe.

The deficient bridges are typically shorter spans along minor roadways, but there are also dozens of Interstate bridges and ramps that are in poor condition.

The percentage of Connecticut bridges in poor condition is lower than the national average of 11.0 percent. But the state’s number has been rising, slowly but steadily, since 2006. The recent climb reversed significant progress to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges. More than 15 percent of state bridges were in poor condition in 1992, but that number dropped to 8.2 percent by 2003.

In addition to bridges deemed structurally deficient, nearly one in four Connecticut bridges is deemed “functionally obsolete,” meaning it no longer meets contemporary criteria for such factors as load capacity or shoulder width. That figure – significantly higher than the 16 percent of such bridges nationally – is partly a result of the state’s aging bridge infrastructure. In Connecticut, the average age of a bridge – or the time span since it was reconstructed – is about 44 years.

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28 thoughts on “Nearly 10 Percent of Connecticut’s Bridges Are “Structurally Deficient”

  1. Kaitydid

    I think the Waterbury Mix-Master (I84) is the most decrepit bridge in the state. It’s not a question of if the bridge will collapse, it’s just a question of when.

    Reply
  2. Blorf

    No Federal funds available to help repair or replace bridges. “Economic” aid to countries I can’t even find on the map so they’ll “Like” us and funding worthless wars is more important! I think they figure in the long run it’s cheaper to pay out on claims even if it results in a death.

    Reply
    1. Dayton

      Agreed! we also waste money on bike trails, enhancement projects, and feel good farces. But that’s ok as long as everybody feels good when the bridge collapses.

      Reply
  3. Chien DeBerger CT

    Glad the dear governor is spending that 800 million dollars on that much need but line from New Britian to Hartford.

    Reply
  4. pete

    The annual story about deficient bridges to justify higher and higher and higher taxes. Let’s get rid of the prevailing wage law so more bridges can be fixed with the same amount of money. Show me a politician who pays HIS contractors the prevailing wage. Oh no HE/SHE looks for the lowest bid even willing to pay in cash to avoid sales taxes

    Reply
  5. Paul Brady

    The state Department of Transportation does a good job of inspecting Connecticut’s bridges and roads and making necessary repairs when needed. But our political leaders in Washington and Hartford have to face up to the realities of an aging infrastructure. The I-5 collapse, like the I-95 Mianus River bridge collapse 30 years ago, is a reminder of our responsibilities to protect public safety.

    Reply
    1. Buttpincher

      The I-5 bridge collapse wasn’t due to failure of the bridge. It was due to collision. The Mianus and Minnesota collapses were due to failure due to poor maintenance.

      Reply
  6. Bob Fortier

    I drove over the Mianus River Bridge 15 minutes before it collapsed. So, of course, I don’t trust any of our bridges.

    Reply
  7. Dayton

    Thank goodness we are “Still Revolutionary”…we save the frogs, lizards, environment but can’t provide security to tax payers via safe bridges. The Putnam is a mess, the joints are like driving over a 2×4 in the road, closed to permitted loads, yet they have the movable concrete barriers lining the whole bridge with 4 lanes open during off work hours. I get real comfy feeling going over it…hmm revolutionary???

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Isn’t this what the gas tax proceeds were supposed to fix…the roads and bridges? Oh…that’s right. That money went to the General Fund and then disappeared…so they could ask for more.

    Reply
  9. Robin Hood

    Who cares about the unsafe bridges , we are gonna have the safest bus way in the country. The bus ride to nowhere coming soon.

    Reply
  10. Joe

    I want good bridges, but I don’t want to pay taxes. I want to attack (insert country here), but I don’t want to pay taxes. I want to fund churches, but I don’t want to pay taxes. I want to build the Pats a new stadium, but I don’t want to pay taxes. I want a Division 1 college sports team, but I do not want to pay any taxes.

    Reply
  11. America Is Dying

    IRS, AP Phone Records, Gun Control, Fast and Furious, Boston Martial Law, etc. etc. etc. All while America is falling apart. The Brain Washed American Sheep keep buying into all of it. Good luck!

    Reply
    1. You need help

      That’s charlie brown on Facebook. The infamous wacko that trolls on courant.com. He just copies and pastes that same comment into every article.ffbbG

      Reply
  12. NeedToKnow

    We all need to know what bridges are “structurally deficient”. Someone,,, please post where this info is locs t e. Thanks. PS: to AmericaIsDying,,, you are correct,,, America is being delivered, into the hands of the communist UN,,, a slow death, intentionally perpetrated by our elected and un-elected officials. May God bless America.

    Reply
      1. NeedToKnow

        We all need to know what bridges are “structurally deficient”. Someone,,, please post where this info is located. Thanks.,,, PS: to AmericaIsDying,,, you are correct,,, America is being delivered, into the hands of the communist UN,,, a slow death, intentionally perpetrated by our elected and un-elected officials. May God bless America.

        Reply

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