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Report: Iowa has most ‘structurally deficient’ bridges in the country

Iowa has more bridges that need repairs than in any other state, according to a national transportation trade group. The Centennial Bridge was one of the bridges highlighted in their report.

Stacked up against all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Iowa was rated No. 1 for “structurally deficient bridges” in 2016, according to a report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).  Illinois ranked 6th on the list.

Click here to see where all the states are ranked.

The term “structurally deficient” refers to bridge components or major parts that are considered “poor,” ARTBA’s report explained.

The Centennial Bridge was listed as one of the 10 “Top Most Traveled Structurally Deficient Bridges in Iowa.” Click here to see the full list.  The North Division Street bridge that passes over Duck Creek in Scott County was also mentioned on the list.

John Wegemeyer with the Illinois Department of Transportation said it’s important to remember that the term “structurally deficient” does not mean unsafe.

“It just means there are issues with the bridge we would like to improve, that we are working on,” Wegemeyer said.

Wegemeyer explained that because of the high traffic the Centennial Bridge sees each day, it should have wider lanes and shoulders, “and those are things we can’t do anything about.”

When a bridge is listed as “structurally deficient” Wegemeyer said it is looked at more closely.  He said because the Centennial Bridge is such an old structure, inspectors “give it a good check up every year” to address concerns.

Inspections on the Centennial Bridge are planned for May of 2017, which will cause some nighttime lane closures, according to the Bi-State Regional Commission.  Wagmeyer said these annual inspections are what determine the most important repairs to make each year.

There are 24,184 bridges in Iowa, and according to the report, 4,968 of them are structurally deficient.

The ARTBA reported that in the last decade workers in Iowa have done major construction on 270 of its bridges, and built 1,915 new bridges.