Thursday, August 02, 2007

Texas Deficient bridges

Report says 2,100 Texas bridges are deficient | - ...

Report says 2,100 Texas bridges are deficient

AUSTIN — More than 2,100 Texas bridges were classified under the same structurally deficient rating given to the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota and killed at least four people, but state officials insisted Thursday that all the spans are completely safe.

Structurally deficient bridges accounted for 4 percent of the state's approximately 50,000 bridges in a 2006 report by the Texas Department of Transportation. Seventy-seven percent of Texas bridges were labeled good or better, while most of the rest were deemed functionally obsolete, meaning they were not designed to handle the current traffic demand.

But department spokesman Mark Cross said there is no reason for Texans to worry about a repeat of the bridge collapse that happened Wednesday evening in Minneapolis. The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge was in the midst of repairs when it buckled during the evening rush hour, sending dozens of cars plummeting more than 60 feet into the Mississippi River and injuring 79 people.

"We talked to our state bridge engineer and that is the first thing he said: Texas has an aggressive bridge inspection program, and all bridges in Texas are safe," Cross said.



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