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Most Traveled Bridges in Georgia in Desperately Poor Condition

Bridges carry cars from point A to point B and provide connections between them. They make it possible for cars to traverse roads, railroads, overpasses, and waterways safely. If dozens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of cars cross a bridge each day, it would seem that the bridges are structurally sound. The fact that many of these bridges are not structurally problematic may come as a shock.

The majority of bridges in the United States are in really bad shape. 13,740 bridges in Georgia need to be repaired, according to the state. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) lists 239, or 1.6 percent, of the state’s 15,058 bridges as structurally poor. Even one bridge seems like too many, even though there are fewer than the 441 bridges that existed in 2019.

We must first define the term “structurally deficient” in order to properly discuss this subject. Next, we’ll examine Georgia’s infrastructural situation. Finally, we will examine Georgia’s top ten structurally flawed and heavily trafficked bridges.

Define Structurally Deficient

A bridge is considered structurally inadequate by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) when one of its main structural components is considered to be in poor or worse condition. The deck, foundation, superstructure, and culverts are some examples of these components. Bridge element conditions are evaluated from 0 (failed condition) to 9 (excellent condition) during inspection. A condition with a rating of 4 is classified as “poor.”

More than 500 tunnels, more than 610,000 highway bridges, and other infrastructure are under the protection, care, and supervision of the FHWA Office.

State of Georgia Infrastructure

According to the January 2019 U.S. Census report, Georgia’s population increased from 9.7 million in 2010 to 10.5 million in 2018. Like many other states in the US, Georgia’s infrastructure has suffered from a lack of investment for many years. Georgia received a C+ on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2019 infrastructure report card. In addition, it gave their bridges a C+ rating, an improvement over prior years.

According to the ASCE, Georgia’s transportation infrastructure received $900 million annually under the Transportation Funding Act of 2015. Georgia has succeeded in reducing the quantity of bridges with structural flaws. The state has put preventive maintenance front and center and created asset management initiatives. Locally, nevertheless, a lot of counties and towns are unable to give bridge upkeep first priority.

According to the Bridge Investment Program, Georgia is anticipated to receive roughly $9.2 billion in federal transportation financing over a five-year period. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law directly improves traffic safety by allocating $13 billion over the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act levels. Georgia will receive around $58 million in funds for highway safety and traffic programs over a five-year period. States benefit from this by having better driving practices and fewer fatalities and injuries from auto accidents.

Funding for Bridge Repair and Maintenance

President Joseph Biden enacted the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in November 2021. IIJA is a sustained national infrastructure investment. It will supply an additional $550 billion in infrastructure investment between 2022 and 2026. This covers water infrastructure, telecommunications, mass transit, bridges, and roadways.

Georgia will get $225 million in total during the course of the IIJA, which will aid with the necessary repairs. As of June 2023, Georgia has allocated $90 million toward 54 projects and has access to an additional $90 million.