Thursday, February 21, 2008

AP: Unnecessary Bridge Work Would Be Expensive

Replacing Va. Bridges Could Cost $3.5B

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Virginia Department of Transportation could spend nearly its entire annual budget to replace every bridge in the state with structural problems.

Virginia has roughly 20,000 bridges, and 1,746 are considered structurally deficient. It would cost $3.5 billion to replace them.

VDOT's budget this fiscal year is $4 billion.

On the plus side, a bridge considered structurally deficient does not mean it is unsafe.

Kendal Walus, VDOT's top bridge engineer, says the state monitors deteriorating bridges, sometimes limiting the weight of the traffic they are allowed to carry. Ultimately, the department fixes them.

He says VDOT will spend about $150 million this year to maintain and repair bridges.

This report is about as useful as telling us what it would cost to destroy and rebuild every street that has a pothole.

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