DES MOINES, IOWA – According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, Iowa has 23,870 structurally deficient bridges.
Webster County has about 180 official bridges defined by the Federal Government, but 30 need repair.
“We know the solution. We just don’t have the funds to implement that solution,” said Webster County’s Engineer Jamie Johll.
But John feels fortunate that the county gives his department half of the local option sales tax.
The Iowa Department of Transportation told WHO 13 the state maintains 4,000 out of 23,870 bridges. Counties and cities are responsible for maintaining the other bridges. However, the department says funds are on the way.
“We’re getting about $86 million a year over the next five years from the federal highway bill,” said Iowa DOT Bridge Maintenance and Inspection Engineer Scott Neubauer.
“So most of that money will probably go to local agencies since they have a higher number of poorer bridges, so but we’re working that out right now on what that amount might be and how it will be distributed to the local agencies.”
The department also says the state has the most structurally deficient bridges because Iowa has a large population of bridges in the country.
Although many bridges are structurally deficient, Neubauer says the bridges are safe.
“Poor bridges don’t mean they’re unsafe. We have criteria that you know when we’re inspecting the bridges. If we find something that’s questionable, we will close a bridge immediately if we think it’s unsafe.”