Quarter Of American Bridges Declared Structurally Deficient or Functionally Obsolete


Bridge closed. Image credit:Ivan Cockrum
Scholars & Rogues blog has a nice overview of the crumbling US bridges issue. In a phrase, upgrades and repairs are not keeping up with wear and tear. Fixing the bad bridges is anticipated to cost "$650 billion over 50 years." Not good news for the 'less government, reduced taxes' crowd. But let's focus on the environmental dimensions. There is good news and bad.You can't just let unsound bridges fall into the rivers in the manner that local governments are doing when they elect to 'unpave' a road. See Trend Watch: Unpaving Rural America "Back To The Stone Age" for context. But you can block them off.

There are many environmental dimensions to the bridges falling down. Here's my short list. Post away with your additions please.

  • Skipped bridge repairs or replacement means less concrete made: hence, reduced C02 emissions.
  • Detours mean additional miles traveled to get to work, shop, go to school: more gas consumed..
  • Alternate routes become more densely traveled - pissing off Mercedes drivers with Autobahn fantasies.
  • Less road salt in the river.
  • Exurban sprawl cut down dead in it's track: some property values go up; others down.
  • Enhanced local self reliance and sense of community.
  • Miles worth of strip development abandoned before and after a closed bridge.