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DOT to emphasize bridge maintenance

Posted July 30, 2008

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— The state Department of Transportation said Wednesday it plans to place more emphasis on bridge maintenance and preservation.

The DOT plans to spend about $20 million a year on preventive maintenance, such as painting structural steel, cleaning bearings, repairing and replacing expansion joints, applying materials that slow corrosion and waterproofing and resurfacing decks and approaches.

The state received about $25 million of the $1 billion Congress allocated earlier this year for bridges nationwide following the collapse of an interstate bridge in Minneapolis a year ago.

About $8 million of that federal funding will be spent on bridge preservation, officials said. Another $12 million will be used to replace bridges that the DOT otherwise wouldn't have been able to replace for eight to 10 years.

The remaining $5 million will be invested in a comprehensive bridge management system that will help engineers better analyze bridge needs and target resources.

State inspectors check each bridge across the state at least once every two years.

More than 2,300 of the 12,712 bridges the DOT maintains are considered structurally deficient, which means they can handle limited loads and need significant maintenance. Another 2,878 bridges statewide are considered functionally obsolete, meaning they have inadequate lane or shoulder widths or clearances.

“Our bridges are safe, and we are committed to keeping them that way for the ever-increasing demands on the highway system,” Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett said in a statement.

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  • Bendal1 Jul 31, 2008

    Right now, with the number of bridges in this state, DOT needs to let 80 bridge projects annually for the next 20 years, just to keep up with the current level of deterioration.

    Manpower, environmental concerns and schedules allows DOT to let only about 20-30 bridge projects annually. With an all-out push using both in-house and consultant firms, and keeping costs down as much as possible, 40 bridge projects annually may be possible, but the funding is being cut next year so that's doubtful. Bridge projects use 80% Federal funding, BTW.

    Tolling is a non-option; the bridges I'm talking about are mostly on surface streets, just a few are on interstates. Someone will need to come up with more money, it's that simple.

  • Tired_of_LIBERALS Jul 30, 2008

    Toll bridges?

  • badmonkey Jul 30, 2008

    brilliant....never thought the repubs were strong enough to throw out the regs.....you live in a fantasy land

  • pbjbeach Jul 30, 2008

    The only thing that mr tippett is instrested in assuring anyone is to the contractors in this state an that is that the corrupt funding will continue an that the enforcement of the ncdot state spec's /// regulations will not continue to be enforced as that they haven't been being enforced for a good number of years now every since the repub's have taken over at the highway department so don't blame mike for this one the repub's have been in charge from the top ever since " W"s election thank you

  • whatelseisnew Jul 30, 2008

    Oh boy I feel better; tippet says our bridges are safe. HA HA HA HA HA HA. It's good to see some focus on the bridges. When they fall down and go boom, that is usually not good. Keep a good thought as you are driving over the next structurally deficient bridge. HA hA Thanks for the reassurance Lyndo.