9% of Ill. bridges `structurally deficient,` according to report - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

9% of Illinois bridges `structurally deficient,` according to report

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Nearly 9 percent of Illinois' bridges are "structurally deficient" and in need of serious maintenance or replacement -- an uptick of 1 percent from two years ago, a new report on the state of the nation's bridges indicates.

The 35 Illinois bridges listed as "structurally deficient" in 2013 placed Illinois No. 35 among the 50 states and the District of Columbia analyzed for their ratio of deficient bridges.

Pennsylvania had the worst record, with 24.5 percent of its bridges falling under the category of structurally deficient. Florida was best, with only 2.2 percent deficient.

Illinois' 9 percent ratio was slightly better than the national average of 11 percent, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The analysis by the advocacy group Transportation for America was based on data from the National Bridge Inventory, a complication of state-collected data.

According to Transportation for America, a "structurally deficient bridge" requires "significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement." Generally, a bridge can land in such a category if one of three key components is rated at 4 or less on a 10-point scale.

The Transportation for America report noted that Congress last year eliminated a dedicated fund for bridge repair, so states now have to set standards for needed bridge repair. The group's report recommended that Congress raise new dedicated revenues for surface transportation programs, including bridge repair.

Most bridges are designed to last 50 years, and the average age of an American bridge is 43 years, the report noted. In just 10 years, one in four bridges will be over 65 years old, an age at which bridges are far more likely to be deficient, Transportation for America calculated.

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