Oregon needs funding help with deficient bridges


There are 439 bridges in the state that are classified as “structually deficient” and the local jurisdictions in charge of many of them have little recourse.

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BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are 439 bridges in the state that are classified as “structually deficient” and the local jurisdictions in charge of many of them have little recourse.

A breakdown of number of bridges with that dubious distinction by county: Clatsop (17 of 147), Umatilla (24 of 329), Multnomah (22 of 473), Washington (8 of 311), Clackamas (8 of 350).

A dozen years ago, Oregon lawmakers approved $2.5 billion for highway work. Of that total, $1.3 billion went toward fixing state highway bridges, and $300 million toward local bridges, on the most critical freight routes. Among them were bridges on Interstates 5 and 84, Oregon’s main north-south and east-west routes, and U.S. 97 through central Oregon. But [Chris Rall, Northwest field organizer for Transportation for America, a national group of elected, business and civic leaders advocating for transportation improvements] said that work was paid for from bonds, which are being repaid through higher vehicle fees approved back in 2003.

“So we have less money to fix bridges now, and we didn’t fix every bridge in the state,” he said. “Our bridges are aging, and many are moving into the category of ‘structurally deficient,’ or they take more maintenance to prevent them from becoming structurally deficient.”

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

The latest of many extensions to a federal transportation funding package expires July 31. Congress has failed to pass a new package since the last one expired in 2009.

 




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