According to NCDOT, there are 12,712 state maintained bridges in North Carolina, ranking us 13th in the nation for state maintained (a.k.a. paid with state taxes) bridges.

Of those, 2,645 are structurally deficient and another 2,676 are functionally obsolete.  A bridge is considered structurally deficient if it is in relatively poor condition, or has insufficient load-carrying capacity, which could be due to the original design or deterioration.  A bridge is considered functionally obsolete if it is narrow, has inadequate under-clearances, insufficient load-carrying capacity, poorly aligned with roadway and can no longer service current traffic demands.

Whatever the reason, many of our bridges pose a significant danger.

Al Lewis warns in a recent WSJ column of bridges falling and explains

“These perilous bridges haven’t been repaired for the same reason that many other things aren’t getting fixed, from the economy on down: Politicians are slaves to corporate masters. They get re-elected for funding new off-ramps at new malls in the new parts of towns.”

 John Hood was talking about NC’s deteriorating bridges when he wrote this:

“The General Assembly has no business creating a new single new social program, awarding a single incentive grant, funding a single arts and entertainment project, or giving a single exorbitant raise to a university chancellor until it takes serious action to address North Carolina’s pressing transportation needs.”

Transportation dollars should be spent on building safe roads and bridges – not on mass transit, urban rail, or other boondoggles.  Our safety is riding on smarter decisions.