Report: Nearly 13% of Hawaii's bridges are 'structurally deficient'

Published On: May 24 2013 03:16:00 PM HST

Honolulu Slip Cover project

HONOLULU -

The American Society of Engineers released its 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, which includes some statistics for Hawaii.

The report card says nearly 13 percent of Hawaii's bridges are considered "structurally deficient."  That means these bridges require significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement.  These bridges must be inspected at least every year since critical load-carrying elements were found to be in poor condition due to deterioration or damage.

Nearly 32 percent of Hawaii's bridges are functionally obsolete, which means these bridges no longer meet the current standards that are used today.  Examples are narrow lanes or low load-carrying capacity.

In fiscal year 2011, the state received $28.7 million from the Federal Highway Bridge Fund.

The state Department of Transportation says one of the projects it is working on is the Honolulu Slip Cover project.  It is repairing deteriorated sections of the concrete bridge structure, originally constructed in 1952.

Parts of the bridge have eroded due to its constant exposure to sea water and tidal fluctuations.

The work zone is between Sumner Street and Nuuanu Avenue.  Repairs began on May 14, 2012 and is expected to be completed in fall 2013.  The approximate cost of the project is $1.6 million.

The DOT says it would cost approximately $750 million to $1 billion to repair or replace all state bridges to current standards.

The nation recevied a C+ for bridges in the report card.  One in nine bridges in the nation are rated as structurally deficient, while the average age of bridges in the U.S. is 42 years.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that to eliminate the nation's bridge backlog by 2028, we would need to invest $20.5 billion annually, while only $12.8 billion is being spent currently.

The challenge for federal, state, and local governments is to increase bridge investments by $8 billion annually to address the identified $76 billion in needs for deficient bridges across the United States.

However, with the overall number of structurally deficient bridges continuing to trend downward, the grade improved to C+. 

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