Report: Minnesota bridges need repair

by John Hageman

Almost one in 10 bridges in Minnesota are structurally deficient, according to a study released Tuesday by a transporation advocacy group.

Minnesota ranks 34th worst in overall condition of its bridges (1 being the worst, 51 being the best.) The study, published by Transporation for America, claims that 8.8 percent of bridges in Minnesota are structurally deficient compared to 11.5 percent nationwide.

After the I-35W bridge collapse in 2007, the State provided $2.5 billion in state funds over ten years to repair structurally deficient bridges. But the new study claims that more needs to be done.

Minnesota’s tally of dangerous bridges could triple by 2050, the report states. The average age of a bridge in Minnesota is 35.2 years old, while most bridges are designed to last about 50 years.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, if a bridge is rated structurally deficient, it requires significant repairs or even replacement. Almost 6 percent of bridges in Hennepin County are structurally deficient, according to the study.

The study also found that Minnesota spent 16.2 of federal funds on bridge upkeep, compared to the national average of 13 percent.

The report recommends Congress to give the necessary funds to states for bridge repair, and make sure those funds are being used for that purpose.