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More Than 200 Area Bridges "Structurally Deficient"

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Key Bridge was among the bridges identified in a report highlighting the nation's structurally deficient bridges.
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Key Bridge was among the bridges identified in a report highlighting the nation's structurally deficient bridges.

Every second, dozens of motorists in the D.C. area drive over what the Federal Highway Administration calls a "structurally deficient bridge" -- a problem one advocacy group says is only likely to get worse. "Structurally deficient" technically does not mean unsafe, but it does mean a bridge is in dire need of repair or replacement. 

Nearly 6 percent of the D.C. region's bridges fall into this class, which is better than the worst major city -- Pittsburgh -- in a report on the nation's failing transportation infrastructures. Thirty percent of Pittsburgh bridges fall in that category.

"It's a little bit like getting a 'C' on your report card when there are a bunch of 'D's," says James Corless, with Transportation for America, the group that released the report.  "It's no reason to pat ourselves on the back. The fact of the matter is that there are 215 deficient bridges in the region."

Key Bridge and the 14th Street Bridge are among those rated structurally deficient.

The FHWA  estimates that the backlog of potentially dangerous bridges would cost $70.9 billion to eliminate, while the federal outlay for bridges amounts to slightly more than $5 billion per year. Transportation for America is pushing Congress to pass a comprehensive infrastructure funding bill to address the national problem.

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