Safety Experts Warn of Bridge Collapse Risks
Experts are unanimous – many of the country’s bridges are old, and in severe need of repairs.As Georgia personal injury lawyers, we are concerned about the fact that so many of our bridges are considered “structurally deficient “or “functionally obsolete.”.
The warning about our bridges comes after an incident on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, in which pieces of steel and a cross beam snapped off the bridge, and fell on to the upper deck. The incident resulted in minor injuries to one motorist. However, the potential for serious injuries was great, considering that the incident happened during rush hour on the bridge. The pieces of steel were part of repairs that had been conducted on the bridge over the Labor Day weekend. Questions are being asked about how the repair job fell apart so soon.
For now, investigations seem to point to high winds that day.However, it does seem like there is more than the weather for us to be concerned about. Bridge experts have already begun to warn about the safety of America’s bridges in the wake of the Bay Bridge incident. . According to ABC News, about 80,000 bridges in the country fall under the categories “structurally deficient” and “functionally obsolete.” Being “functionally obsolete” does not have to mean that a bridge is falling apart. However, the Minnesota bridge that collapsed two years ago killing 13 people, had been declared “structurally deficient” at the time of the collapse.
The American Society of Civil Engineers says that we are spending far less money on maintaining our bridges than we need to. Experts estimate that the total cost of maintaining America’s bridges run up to $17 billion. We are currently however, spending just $10 billion on bridge maintenance.
In 2007, US Department of Transportation statistics showed that 10 bridges in
Richmond County were structurally deficient. Georgia has 5,600 bridges that were built over the past 20 years. That is relatively young when you consider that the average age of an American bridge is 43 years. However, we also need to consider that more than 214 of Georgia’s bridges are more than 75 years old, while the average life span of a bridge in America is just 50 years. Our bridges are aging, and maintenance will be an issue soon than later.