Most Traveled Bridges in Alabama In Desperately Poor Condition

An essential component of infrastructure are bridges. They let cars to traverse roads and streams. They are essential components of day-to-day living, moving individuals from one place to another. There are 16,176 bridges in Alabama. 16,102 bridges in the state have been identified as needing maintenance. Of this total, Alabama considers 559, or 3.5 percent, to be structurally substandard. This indicates that one or more important components are broken.

It is a lower figure than in 2019. 654 bridges were in extremely bad shape at the time. Alabama is ranked 44th in the US for the proportion of bridges with structural flaws. Although that figure is still far too high, it is still far better than the majority of the US.

The average age of the bridges in Alabama is 47 years old. This is a little older than the 44-year-old national average. The average lifespan is fifty years. On the other hand, the lifespan of bridges constructed after 2013 is 75 years.There are almost 8,255 bridges in Alabama that are 50 years of age or older.

We shall define structurally deficient in the article. Next, we shall examine the infrastructure of Alabama. Finally, we shall enumerate the ten most heavily trafficked and structurally flawed bridges in Alabama.

What Does Structurally Deficient Mean?

Alabama guarantees that bridges are examined in accordance with the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). On a scale from 0 to 9, the main components of a bridge are the deck, superstructure, and substructure. The state of a bridge is determined by these ratings. A bridge is considered good if the lowest grade is more than or equal to 7. Ratings of 5 or 6 apply to bridges. It is classified as poor if it is less than or equal to 4. A deck, superstructure, or substructure that receives a rating of four or lower is considered structurally deficient.

State of Alabama Infrastructure

Alabama’s infrastructure was rated C- by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2022. The 2015 report card and this outcome are identical.

The Rebuild Alabama Act was one of the topics included in the 2015 report card. Since its inception in 2019, the act has distributed more than $100 million in state funding for transportation. The measure closes the financing shortfall for Alabama’s roads and bridges by adding 10 cents per gallon to the state gasoline tax. The roads and bridges in Alabama were made more stable by this assistance. There was a notable improvement in the percentage of bridges with a low rating; it was below 8.6% in 2015. 7.5% is the average for the country.

There is still a $113 million funding gap, though. The state has weight restrictions on almost 2,200 of its bridges, which slows down the supply system. Only 14% of bridges are unable to handle the weight of fully loaded semi-tractor trailers, dump vehicles, or concrete trucks.

Rebuild Alabama Act

Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama said this year that counties and localities would get grants totaling more than $2.25 million for a range of road and bridge upgrades. The Rebuild Alabama Act established a program that provides the funding. The program allots $10 million for local improvements, on top of the state’s portion of newly collected gas tax income.

Governor Kay Ivey stated, “Rebuild Alabama has been the cornerstone of progress for a number of years, and its transformative impact is still being felt throughout our state.” “There is more to come, but we are making progress in the right direction with safer, more effective travel.”

In addition to the projects that were awarded, counties and towns provided nearly $2.3 million in local monies. Through the local grant programs established by the Rebuild Alabama Act, more than $141 million in state money for transportation has been granted with this round of financing. All 67 counties have granted projects.

Federal Funding for Infrastructure

President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law in November 2021. $550 billion of the $1.2 trillion authorized for transportation and infrastructure spending under the act will go toward “new” investments. Over the following five years, Alabama will receive cash totaling more than $170 billion under the IIJA. This includes $55 billion to modernize the country’s water infrastructure, including Alabama’s drinking water systems, many of which are far older than they were designed to be.

Alabama will receive $225 million in bridge formula payments throughout the course of the IIJA, which will aid with necessary repairs. As of June 2023, Alabama had allocated $87.3 million of its available $90 million toward 20 projects.

Overview of the Most Traveled Structurally Deficient Bridges in Alabama

County Year Built Daily Crossings Bridge Type Location
Jefferson 1981 99,312 Urban Interstate I-459 South over Cahaba River
Jefferson 1968 41,990 Urban Interstate I-20/59 North over Aaron Aronov Drive
Jefferson 1968 41,990 Urban Interstate I-20/59 South over Arron Aronov Drive
Lee 1958 40,660 Urban Interstate I-85 over Moores Mill Creek
Lee 1996 32,040 Urban
US 280 over First Avenue
Baldwin 1968 31,822 Urban other principal
US 98 over Fly Creek
Macon 1963 31,250 Rural Interstate I85 over Branch
Shelby 1924 28,511 Urban other principal
Al – 3 North over Peavine Ck * Acl RR
Lee 1959 23,680 Urban Interstate I-85 over Long St
Lee 1959 23,680 Urban Interstate I-85 over Norfolk Southern R/R