New report shows many area bridges need repairs

June 19, 2013 1:47:11 PM PDT
After a bridge collapsed into a river in Washington state, it raised questions about the safety of the bridges we drive over every day.

Some new statistics provide answers that you may not like to hear.

Even though the Connecticut Department of Transportation says it's bridges are safe, many are in need of some level of repair. After 53 years, the Lockwood Lane Overpass has been through enough.

The span over I-95, which carries thousands of cars ever day, is being rebuilt.

It's one down, hundreds to go.

According to a new report, over 400 bridges in Connecticut have been graded as structurally deficient, and a quarter of those are in Fairfield County.

Connecticut is no stranger to bridge disasters.

In 1983, a 100-foot section of I-95 collapsed, sending four vehicles plunging into the Mianus River, killing three people.

But engineers point out the term sounds scarier than it actually is.

A structurally deficient bridge does not mean it's in imminent danger of collapse.

"It could be a small, minor thing that makes the overall condition of the bridge poor, not that it's an unsafe condition," said structural engineer Thomas Ahneman.

According to the report, Connecticut has 406 deficient bridges, 9.4%, slightly ahead of New Jersey with 651, or 9.9%.

New York is the worst in the nation with over 2100 hundred bridges in need of repair.

Experts say regular maintenance and frequent inspections are key to preventing tragedies.

Connecticut is in the process of spending $1 billion on bridges, an expensive undertaking that in the end will only remove 16 bridges from the list.