May 1, 2024 - News

The state of Indiana's bridges

Share of bridges in poor condition, 2023
Data: Federal Highway Administration; Map: Will Chase and Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Almost 95% of Indiana's 19,381 bridges are in good or fair condition.

Why it matters: America's bridge infrastructure — long seen as dysfunctional — has been steadily improving for the last 20 years.

The big picture: The U.S. Department of Transportation considers 6.8% of the over 600,000 bridges it tracks and rates to be in "poor" condition.

  • That doesn't sound too bad on a percentage basis, but it's over 40,000 bridges in total.
  • The percentage of bridges in poor condition has been halved from 15.2% in 2000.

Breaking it down: West Virginia, Iowa, South Dakota and Rhode Island fare the worst, with 15% to 20% of bridges in each state rated "poor."

  • Georgia has the highest percentage of bridges in "good" condition (75%), while in Arizona, Nevada and Texas, just 1% of bridges are rated "poor."

State of play: Just 5.3% of Indiana bridges are "poor," per the 2023 ratings. The national average is 6.8%.

  • That amounts to 1,018 bridges statewide considered to be structurally deficient, most of which are located in rural communities.

Zoom in: Nine of the state's top 10 most traveled poor bridges are in Marion County, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

  • All of those bridges are on either I-65 or I-465.

What to watch: The Indiana Department of Transportation recently announced that nearly $90.3 million in federal funding will be used to rehab or replace 32 rural bridges currently rated in poor condition.

  • The city of Indianapolis' 2024 road construction schedule includes 17 bridge projects, including repairing the "poor" 30th Street bridge over White River and a $15.1 million effort to improve the "fair" 16th Street bridge over White River.
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