Thirteen percent of Louisiana’s bridges—seventh-worst in the nation—are considered structurally deficient, meaning one of those bridges’ critical elements is in poor or worse condition, according to a new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.
The ARTBA’s analysis from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2018 national bridge inventory found that more than 47,000 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient and in poor condition. More than 1,675 of Louisiana’s 12,899 bridges were classified as structurally deficient, up from 1,609 bridges in 2014.
Forty-six of the state’s problematic bridges are on the interstate highway system, and more than 2,000 bridges are posted for load, restricting the size or weight of vehicles crossing it.
Louisiana is seventh among the top 10 states with the most structurally deficient bridges as a percent of their total bridge inventory. Other states include: Rhode Island (23%), West Virginia (19.8%), Iowa (19.3%), South Dakota (16.7%), Pennsylvania (16.5%), Maine (13.1%), Puerto Rico (11.7%), Oklahoma (10.9%) and North Dakota (10.7%).
Louisiana has identified needed repairs on 3,347 bridges at an estimated cost of $7.5 billion.
The ARTBA analysis comes just as Baton Rouge state Rep. Steve Carter has filed an ambitious and far-reaching bill that would eventually raise more than a $1 billion a year for critically needed highway projects. Carter’s list of proposed projects, which includes a new Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge, would be paid for by created a dedicated subfund fueled by hiking the state’s tax on gasoline and diesel, imposing fees on electric and hybrid vehicles, and redirecting revenues generated by a temporary, half-cent sales tax from the state general fund to infrastructure construction projects. Read the full bridge analysis here, and Daily Report’s coverage of Carter’s new bill here.