Report: 500 bridges in Colorado classified as ‘structurally deficient’

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DENVER -- A report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association found America’s bridges are in bad shape. In Colorado, some of the most congested highway bridges in the country are falling apart and are way past their prime. But things might be turning around.

The report released Thursday shows nearly 10 percent of the country's bridges need major repairs. In Colorado, there are more than 8,600 and some 521 -- or 6 percent -- of those bridges are classified as structurally deficient.

Structurally deficient means key elements on the bridge such as the deck or parts of the structure are considered to be in "poor" or worse condition.

The report goes on to show some 851 bridges -- or 10 percent -- are functionally obsolete, meaning they have substandard design.

From 2005 to 2014, the federal government has given Colorado $2.3 billion for improvements on 3,151 bridges. From 2003 to 2015, some 6,708 new bridges were built and 912 underwent major reconstruction.

“It actually confirms all of the effort that we have been putting into our bridges over the last couple of years and it shows that Colorado is actually one of the better states when it comes to addressing our structurally deficient bridges,” Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Ford said.

According to the report, three of the state's worst bridges are in the Denver area: The U.S. 6 bridge over Bryant Street, the U.S. 6 bridge over the South Platte River at Interstate 25 and the Interstate 70 bridge over Havana Street.

"One of the bridges that was the worst in the United States and that is at I-70 and Havana. There is a $25 million project under construction right now and we hope to finish it in 2016,” Ford said.

CDOT said the Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery Act of 2009 is pumping millions more dollars a year into bridge repairs.

FASTER is a program that was passed in 2009 and generates $100 million a year for bridge improvement, highway construction and safety programs.

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