transportationWASHINGTON — Many of the bridges across North Carolina are in desperate need of repair according to new analysis of government data. Making the problem worse is the fact that federal lawmakers can’t agree on how to pay for the fixes.

• More than 61,000 bridges across the country are considered structurally deficient
• Received equivalent of a “C+” grade
• Nearly 2,300 of the bridges are in North Carolina alone
• Problem stems from aging bridges with increased traffic demands

Analysts with the Washington-based start-up Transit Labs showed me how they crunched the government data. They say the numbers warn of a growing crisis.

“Bridges are getting older, and within the next ten years, these numbers are going to get a lot worse. We’ve built a lot of bridges that have 50-year lifespans, and that time is coming to an end,” said Farhan Daredia, co-founder of Transit Labs.

Most of the bridges deemed ‘structurally deficient’ aren’t necessarily unsafe, but they do need to be repaired. Members of Congress haven’t been able to agree on how to pay for the much-needed repairs.

The House and Senate voted last week to fund highway and transit projects, but only for another two months.
It’s the latest in a series a short-term funding extensions, which business groups and even some members of Congress, say is short-sighted.

“Long-term planning is really what we need to do. I’m in favor of doing something that’s five to seven years out. ‘Long-term’ here in Washington, D.C., is six to 12 months. ‘Long-term’ for a business guy is seven to 10 years. It’s time that we do that and make a proper plan so the states and businesses can plan on what goes forward,” said Rep. Mark Meadows.

Find out how the bridges in your area measure up by clicking here.

– Geoff Bennett