A new report says Ingham County ranks 4th in the state, when it comes to the worst percentage of bridges rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association released it's Statewide Bridge Rankings on Tuesday. The group says Wayne County tops the list with 54%, followed by Emmett with 48%, Genesee has 44%, and Ingham just a percentage lower with 43%. Marquette County rounds out the top 5 with 42%.
MITA says Ingham County's percentage was calculated considering 101 of it's 237 bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Mike Nystrom of MITA says the problem is widespread across the state. "These crumbling bridges are causing accidents. There's pieces of concrete falling off of bridges across the state causing accidents. Whether its a piece of concrete on the road and somebody hits it, or it falls directly on a vehicle."
Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley hasn't seen the report, but realizes Michigan's aging infrastructure needs attention. "The problem with our infrastructure overall is something that you don't really need a report to tell you. People drive on roads every day, they can feel what the road condition is, particularly after the winter we just came out of. That's why there's such a laser focus these days on improving the overall condition of our roads and bridges in Michigan."
State and local road agencies say they're doing the best they can with the money they have to fix the aging bridges on the list. There are about 3,000 in Michigan. Kari Arend, Spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation says the bridges on the list are inspected on a regular basis. "It's not to say that they're unsafe. If they were unsafe we would close them. It just means that they need to be brought up to current standards."
Nystrom says time is running out. He says the longer state lawmakers wait to come up with a solution, the more money it will cost to fix the bridges. He estimates the state needs at least $2 billion dollars for road funding. "We haven't found a solution yet. We're hopeful that this most recent terrible pothole season is leading them to look for a solution. but these numbers point out that we're in real trouble with our bridges."