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Inspectors say thousands of American bridges are in poor condition following the Baltimore bridge collapse [Video]

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Inspectors consider nearly 7% of the nation’s bridges to be in poor condition — around 42,400 — according to federal data from 2023. Deterioration, specifically problems affecting the piers and beams that keep a bridge upright, requires repairs that can cost millions of dollars and result in closures that affect commuters and small businesses.

Bridges fulfill a vital function that often goes overlooked until lives are lost or disrupted by a closure or collapse, like that of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore early last Tuesday. That bridge crumpled when struck by a cargo ship, not because of poor maintenance. But thousands of others stand in worse shape.

The majority of bridges that were found to be in poor condition suffer from issues with the legs holding them up (the substructure) or arms supporting their load (the superstructure), according to the National Bridge Inventory

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While nearly 16,000 of those bridges also were rated …

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