A Staggering Number of Our Bridges Are Screwed
In April 2019, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association released a damning report -- based on data provided by the Federal Highway Administration -- about the state of the nation's bridges. How damning? Well, let's put it this way: If there's a bridge that you regularly use ... don't.
Rob Bogaerts/AnefoMore like troubled bridge over water! (We hate ourselves.)
Of the 616,087 bridges in the U.S., ARTBA reports that 38% (235,020) are in need of repairs. Which might not be so bad, depending on the level of repair in question. But far more concerning: Of those 235,020 bridges, 8% (47,052) are "structurally deficient" and in need of urgent repairs. And you can go ahead and throw another 7,000 bridges in there, because prior to the publication of last year's report, the FHWA tightened the criteria of what a "structurally deficient" bridge is from the definition they used in 2018, which led to that many being reclassified as mere fixer-uppers. On the plus side, we're probably talking about bridges in the middle of nowhere, ol' rickety things that no one-
According to ARTBA, structurally deficient bridges account for 178 million crossings per day. These bridges are everywhere, and include notable ones like the Arlington Memorial Bridge (Virginia), the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge (California), the Brooklyn Bridge (New York City), the Pensacola Bay Bridge (Florida), the Robert S. Maestri Bridge (Louisiana), and the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge (Washington).
By the way, if you live in Ohio or Pennsylvania, congratulations! Those states account for 18% of the country's least-eligible bridges. Have you considered moving to West Virginia? There's literally an entire song about how their roads will get you home.
Sorry, our radio's been stuck on a folk station lately.
This situation is compounded by the fact that at the current rate at which we're working on our literally crumbling infrastructure, it's going to take more than 80 years to repair or replace all 47,000 bridges that need it. Fun fact! The average age of a structurally deficient bridge is 62 years. So unless we get off our asses, the bridges we need to repair now will be the only working bridges in the country by the time we've finished.
The Largest Mass Transit System In The U.S. Is Poisoning Its Riders
There are a lot of terrible things about school buses, from the sticky seats to the kids in the back. But we rarely think about their exhaust fumes. Throughout the years, numerous studies have found that kids who ride the bus regularly breathe in an absurd number of diesel particulates. One study put the figure at between 5 times and 15 times over the "normal" level of exposure.