QUream writes, "Structurally deficient bridges are not 'imminently unsafe, but they are in need of attention,' according to the report. In addition to the 47,052 bridges considered in poor condition, an additional 69,000 are operating under weight limits or other protective measures designed to reduce stress on the structures. In total, there are nearly 235,000 bridges across the country that need structural repair, rehabilitation or replacement . . . Completing all the necessary repairs would cost nearly $171 billion."
The number of structurally deficient bridges declined steadily over the last five years, and very slightly over the last two – from 7.7% of the nation's bridges in 2017 to 7.6% in 2018 – partly because of the Federal Highway Administration's recent redefinition of the term "structurally deficient." The new definition is narrower, and no longer includes "bridges where the overall structural evaluation was rated in poor or worse condition, or with insufficient waterway openings," Queram reports.
Alison Premo Black, chief economist for the road and bridge builders' group, conducted the analysis. He said, "At the current pace, it would take more than 80 years to replace or repair the nation's structurally deficient bridges."