Missouri ranks near top of U.S. for most deficient bridges
COLUMBIA - If you drive around Missouri and feel like the state's roads and bridges could use some improvement, you are not alone.
A study from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association shows Missouri has the fourth most structurally deficient bridges in the country.
MoDOT says 6,500 bridges in the state are 50 years or older.
However, that doesn't necessarily mean these bridges aren't safe for people to drive on.
State bridge engineer Dennis Heckman said structurally deficient bridges typically need more maintenance and usually have a weight limit. He added those bridges are regularly inspected to ensure they remain safe to drive on.
The MoDOT website lists Missouri as the state with the seventh largest system of roads and bridges, however they are listed as the 47th state in received funding.
"We engage a lot of local county commissions and city councils to help us to pick which few bridges were going to work on so that if we have several hundred bridges that are in poor condition and you can only work on 40, we need the local people to help us decide which 40 we need to work on," said Heckman.
MoDOT outreach coordinator Bob Brendel explained MoDOT has the resources to manage the number of bridges on the state system, but not enough to drive that number down.
Heckman added, the lower gas prices are generating more revenue for MoDOT to make bridge repairs.
"We have a 17 cent per gallon tax and with the lower price of gas people are driving more, which burns more gas and we're able to fix more bridges," said Heckman.