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Report: Arizona Bridges Among Nation's Best

PHOTO: Arizona has fewer bridges in need of major repair or upgrading than most states in the union, according to a new report. Photo credit: Arizona Department of Transportation.
PHOTO: Arizona has fewer bridges in need of major repair or upgrading than most states in the union, according to a new report. Photo credit: Arizona Department of Transportation.
April 13, 2015

PHOENIX - Arizona has some bragging rights when it comes to the Grand Canyon State's bridges. Doug Nintzel, spokesma with the state Department of Transportation, says a report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association shows just over three-percent of Arizona's approximately 8,000 bridges are structurally deficient. He says that's the fourth lowest rate in the nation.

"We have a tradition of actually ranking among the top five in the nation," says Nintzel. "Many times we're in the top two or three, especially when it comes to the state's highway system bridges."

Nintzel says all bridge structures in the state are inspected every two years, while bridges with more extensive deterioration are inspected more often. He adds that a bridge deemed to be structurally deficient can still be safe to drive on, but is more than likely not up to modern construction standards.

According to the report, Nevada, Florida, and Texas are the only states with fewer structurally compromised bridges than Arizona. Nintzel says warmer and dryer weather, and newer infrastructure than Eastern states, are among the factors helping Arizona's bridges.

"The state's relatively dry climate helps many bridges last longer, before any major repairs are needed," he says. "Many bridges have benefited, of course, from modern engineering designs, especially because they are younger."

According to the report, there are about 61,000 bridges in the U.S. that are considered structurally compromised. The research shows that the majority of the bridges needing work are on Interstate highways, which carry the bulk of truck traffic and passenger vehicles.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ