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Report: Michigan bridge conditions declining; repair costs rising

Justin Razmus
Creative Commons

A report from the Transportation Asset Management Council says the condition of Michigan's bridges has hit a plateau.  

The coalition of government road agencies says the state's bridges will deteriorate in coming years, while the cost to fix them goes up.

Roger Stafford, TAMC's chairman, says it costs four or five times more to fix a bridge that's in poor condition than maintaining one in good or fair condition.

“In addition, the costs of the materials and labor to provide those solutions continue to increase," he said. "So you get sort of the double whammy.”

The report says in 2014, 11.7% of the state's highway bridges were structurally deficient. That's above the national average of 10.05%. 

Additionally, one in seven of Michigan's local bridges were structurally deficient.

"Over the past 10 years we've made significant strides [in bridge improvements]," Stafford said. "The data shows we're going to lose those gains without additional investment."

Stafford said preventative maintenance has helped slow bridge deterioration, particularly at the local level, but more needs to be done.

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