ST. LOUIS (AP) — Governors around the nation scrambled Thursday to conduct bridge inspections, ordering engineers to review the safety of thousands of structures a day after a span over the Mississippi River collapsed in
The Federal Highway Administration issued an advisory, backed by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, urging state transportation departments to conduct inspections of bridges similar to the steel-deck truss bridge that gave way.
There are 756 such spans, according to highway officials. No list of bridge locations was available.
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said officials planned to evaluate all 6,400 of the state’s bridges, regardless of whether the structures are maintained by state, local or federal governments.
University of Missouri-Columbia civil engineer Glenn Washer said Wednesday’s catastrophe may spur states to revise how they fund bridge inspection and repair.
“There are almost 600,000 bridges in this country, with an average age of 42 years,” Washer said. “There is a massive effort by state departments of transportation to inspect, monitor and maintain bridges, but implementing some of the new technology and getting the work done is a significant challenge.”
Other states ordering new inspections included
Nationwide, about 12 percent of the nation’s bridges were classified as “structurally deficient” in 2006, meaning they are deteriorating, according to a report issued by the Federal Highway Administration.
Another 13 percent of bridges were classified as “functionally obsolete,” meaning they are structurally sound but no longer meet transportation standards and demands.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said none of his state’s 27 steel truss bridges are considered in danger of collapsing, but he still asked transportation officials to review inspection records.
States such as