Triangle bridges causing concern

Bridge

January 8, 2010 10:01:25 PM PST
A startling new report detailing bad bridges puts two of the worst in the Triangle. The bridge on I-440 across Raleigh's Hillsborough Street is among the very worst in the state according to the report.

Built in 1960, the bridge on the Beltline carries 84,000 cars a day, but the state labels it "functionally obsolete."

AAA says it's North Carolina's 5th worst bridge.

"Many of our bridges were built prior to the 1960's and were built to a different standard," said Lacey Love with the Department of Transportation. "Trucks were lighter than they are today."

Almost 30 percent of North Carolina's 13,000 bridges are labeled either "functionally obsolete," because they're too narrow, or "structurally deficient," because they are in poor condition or cannot carry sufficient loads.

The DOT stresses the Raleigh bridge on the Beltline is structurally sound down below. But on top, it is too narrow, so by modern standards it is obsolete.

So far, there's no money dedicated to replace the bridge on the Beltline.

The bridge on Highway 15/501 in Durham, built in 1951 is also obsolete, but the replacement should come in August.

The Triangle's rural counties have higher a proportion of deficient bridges. More than half need major work in Vance County.

"A lot of those bridges were built back in the 50's and 40's," Love said. "They were not built out of concrete and steel. They were built out of timber and timber components."

AAA rates the worst bridge as the one on I-40 in Greensboro, which carries 117,000 cars a day.

The state is slowly reducing the number of deficient bridges, but the needs are huge.

"Our bridge needs in North Carolina are $5 billion to replace every bridge that is deficient," Love said. "That's not something we can come up with money today to replace."

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