Those prone to anxiety know that every trip over a bridge is a mental exercise in potential death scenarios—is the bridge really up to the task of carrying all this weight? What if a ship hits it What if a plane hits it What if that truck is 15 pounds too heavy What if a whale shoots out of the water and disengages the weakest bolt? Data from the National Bridge Inventory confirms what the paranoid already knew: That thousands of bridges in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are in need of repair.
According to NBC New York, the state is home to 2,000 "structurally deficient" bridges, with an additional 600 in New Jersey and 407 in Connecticut. Inspectors assess the sturdiness of the bridges based on various elements, including condition of the deck, superstructure and foundation. Any element that receives below a "four" rating (out of possible nine) is deemed structurally deficient.
Despite the chilling wording, a DOT spokesperson told the station that "structurally deficient" does not equate to "certain death." It does, however, mean that the bridge in question is in need of repairs and should be monitored.
The problem, as we acknowledged when a similar report was released last year, is that such preventative repairs are costly. The House last month voted to allocate $10.8 billion to the Highway Trust Fund, a woefully insufficient sum that will serve as little more than a short term fix. President Barack Obama derided the vote at the time, saying that Congress "shouldn't pat itself on the back for averting disaster for a few months, kicking the can down the road for a few months, careening from crisis to crisis when it comes to something as basic as our infrastructure."
At least this guy's saved himself a few bucks on tolls, though.