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WASHINGTON – Rhode Island ranks second in percentage of structurally deficient bridges, with more than one-fifth deemed needing repair, according to the 2013 National Bridge Inventory database released in April by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Rhode Island has 167 structurally deficient bridges, 45th most in the nation. But of the total number of bridges in the state, 22 percent are in need of repair. Estimates show that vehicles travel Rhode Island’s compromised bridges more than 2.6 million times each day.
According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the problem could get worse in Rhode Island and across the nation. States are facing a slowdown in reimbursements for already approved federal-aid highway projects in August. Without congressional action, there will be no Highway Trust Fund support for any new road, bridge, or public transportation projects in any state during the national fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1.
The trust fund supports an average $106.5 million annually in Rhode Island bridge work, the association said. •