Minnesota’s Bridges Need a “Backeotomy”
I'm not going to claim to be some infrastructure expert, but after reading a recent article in the City Pages about the terrible shape of Minnesota's bridges, I had to say something as a concerned citizen. Like, what the heck?! And why hasn't this been seriously addressed? And maybe it IS (we can only hope)??
Check out these numbers from the U.S. Federal Highway Administrative's National Bridge Inventory.
- Minnesota today has 830 structurally deficient bridges
- The average age of these is 66 years, but have a design life of 50 years
- More than 1 in 10 Minnesota bridges are older than the Korean War and the creation of Medicare
- Minnesota drivers took almost 1,200 trips every minute over deficient bridges in 2014
What makes the problem worse, according to this report, no federal money is dedicated to repairing local bridges and over 90% of the state's deficient bridges are locally-maintained.
While they do note that Minnesota has made progress in reducing it's number of deficient bridges since the 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge, the bonds and federal stimulus were temporary solutions and funding sources are waning. We now face a gap in our capacity as a state to repair or replace the thousands of bridges nearing their designated lifespans.
If you think the condition of Minnesota's bridges is worrisome, just know, we're not in this alone. It's a problem plaguing our entire country. Almost every state is guilty of bringing up infrastructure numbers every year and then doing little about fixing them. Jon Oliver said it best when he did an entire piece on this problem on Last Week Tonight on HBO back in early March.
If you have questions regarding the condition and repair of Minnesota's roadways and bridges, visit www.mndot.gov or email firstname.lastname@example.org.