THE CONCRETE BRIDGE MAGAZINE

SUMMER 2009

ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.

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14 | ASPIRE , Summer 2009 P E R S P E C T I V E T h e A m e r i c a n S o c i e t y o f C i v i l Engineers' (ASCE) 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure gave the nation's infrastructure an overall grade of "D" and estimated an investment need of $2.2 trillion dollars over 5 years to improve the condition from poor to good. Little to no progress has been made in the 4 years since the society released its previous report card in 2005, and the results were disappointing for the 15 categories graded in 2009—four Cs and 11 Ds. Of those grades, only one category—Energy—went up, and three categories—Aviation, Roads, and Transit—actually went down. And, the $2.2 trillion need for investment represents an increase of more than half a trillion dollars since the 2005 report estimated need of $1.6 trillion. The $2.2 trillion, which was adjusted for a 3% rate of inflation, represents capital spending at all levels of government and includes anticipated investments. Current spending amounts to only about half of this number, which leaves $1.1 trillion in needed investment for the United States over the next 5 years. As this increased investment need shows, inaction has only raised the price tag for infrastructure improvement. America's bridges fared only slightly better than the majority of the report card categories, receiving a grade of "C," though showing no improvement since the 2005 report. Almost 27%, or more than one in four, of the nation's bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. In real numbers, this means that of the 600,905 bridges listed by the U.S. Department of Transportation in December 2008, 72,868 (12.1%) were categorized as structurally deficient and 89,024 (14.8%) were categorized as functionally obsolete. Even though the number of deficient rural bridges declined by 8596 from 2005 to 2008, the number of deficient urban bridges increased by 2817 during the same time period. Considering the higher level of passenger and freight traffic on these urban bridges, the impact is significant. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), a total of $10.5 billion was spent on construction and maintenance of bridges from all levels of government in 2004. That breaks down to $5.1 billion funded from the Federal Highway Bridge Program, $3.9 billion from state and local budgets, and an additional $1.5 billion in other federal highway aid. In 2008, AASHTO estimated that it would cost nearly $140 billion to repair all deficient bridges in the country—$48 billion to repair structurally deficient bridges and $91 billion to improve functionally obsolete bridges. AASHTO also estimated that to maintain current bridge conditions, or to simply keep the backlog of deficient bridges from growing any larger, by Andrew Herrmann, Hardesty & Hanover LLP 2009 Asce RepoRt cARd for America's Infrastructure More than one in four, of the nation's bridges is considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. ASPIRE_Summer09.indb 14 6/5/09 1:42:05 PM

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