Many local bridges are falling apart

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Thousands of bridges in the US are cracking, rusting, and essentially falling apart. That’s according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

The bridge trouble comes down to money and time and it’s a problem happening in the Miami Valley that has no immediate fix.

As you drive over them, you might not notice, but if you look underneath them, it’s a different story.

Many bridges in the Miami Valley are showing their age.

Natalie: “Do we have a lot of bridges here that are deteriorating?”

“We do,” said Montgomery County Engineer, Paul Gruner.

Montgomery County Engineer, Paul Gruner says bridges are falling apart in most every county, in every state in the US. They are getting older and local and federal governments don’t have the funds to replace them.

“We don’t have the money to replace as many as we should be every year,” he said.

The 520 bridges in Montgomery County are each inspected once a year.

“We have about 30 bridges that are structurally deficient and another 30 that are functionally obsolete,” Gruner.

The engineers office won’t keep a bridge open if it gets too bad but rust and broken concrete can be seen on many of them and the county can’t keep up with the fixes.

“It’s because of inflation. Because everything’s doubled in cost since that last time we’ve had an increase basically,” said Gruner.

Gruner says action needs to be taken to keep these bridges safe and open.

He is proposing an increase to the license plate renewal fees Ohioans pay every year to help fund bridge repairs and replacements.

“It does take real money. We can’t replace bridges with good intentions,” said Gruner.

Of course, to raise those license plate fees, it will take a vote by lawmakers.

We were prompted to look into our area bridges after an investigation by the Today Show into highway bridge problems.

They used data from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

We checked that data and found Ohio has just over 27,000 highway bridges and nearly 1,900 of them are deemed “structurally deficient.”

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