Americans use bridges daily to commute and throughout the country, there are more than 47,000 deemed “structurally deficient” by the American Road and Transportation Builders.
In its annual report , there are 14 bridges identified on the Central Coast. But Caltrans is reassuring the public that these and all bridges, inspected every two years, are safe to travel on and under.
Though the ARTBA says progress on maintaining and fixing these bridges has slowed.
“At the current rate, it would take 80 years to fix all of the nation’s structurally deficient bridges.”
It goes on to state of the 1,319 bridges in 24th Congressional District, which includes San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, 78, or 5.9 percent, are classified as structurally deficient. This means one of the key elements is in poor or worse condition, according to its report.
The only bridge under this definition in San Luis Obispo County identified in the report is in Paso Robles, located on 24th Street over the railroad track. Built in 1959, it has nearly 15,700 crossings each day.
The report identifies 14 bridges in various areas of Santa Barbara County, most with tens of thousands of daily crossings. None are newer than 1974, with the oldest one built in 1907. That one is located on U.S. Hwy 101 SB over Arroyo Parida.
Caltrans says the report’s wording inspires fear and motorists should feel safe traveling these structures.
“Very simply if we felt that a highway or a bridge or an intersection was in an unsafe condition for the public, we would simply close it,” Jim Shivers said, Caltrans District 4 public affairs. “All of the bridges in our district as best I know are open and anyone who has any intention on bicycling or walking or driving across any bridge on the Central Coast should understand it is in good shape, it’s safe, and they should have no reservations about using it.”
Shivers said Caltrans is proud of the work it has done to maintain these bridges.
Repairs are needed on 271 bridges in the district, which will cost an estimated $184.8 million.
California ranks 7th in the nation with 1,812 bridges identified in the report.