Nevada was recently recognized as having the nation’s top bridges by a Better Roads magazine survey.
The survey shows only four percent of Nevada’s 1,810 state, county and city bridges being functionally obsolete or structurally deficient, compared to a national average of 24 percent.
Arizona came in second with the only other single-digit rating at six percent.
Calculating just the 1,088 state-owned bridges, Nevada ties Arizona at the top with four percent of bridges not up to par, compared to a 22-percent national average.
Compiled from statistics provided by state engineers, the recent survey ranks bridge condition through October 2007.
Using Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) classifications, the survey defines functionally obsolete bridges as deficient in carrying capacity, clearance or alignment with the roadway.
Structurally deficient bridges are defined as those that are substandard in carrying capacity or require immediate rehabilitation.
The classifications do not mean the bridge is in danger of collapse.
“This is great news for Nevada motorists, visitors, and the commerce that relies on our roadways and bridges,” said Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) Director Susan Martinovich.
“The dedication and expertise of the NDOT team members and others working on our state bridges will continue to lead our aggressive bridge inspection and maintenance program into the future, and ensure the safety of our bridges.”
NDOT inspects all public bridges in the state, including city and county-maintained structures.
Every two years, NDOT performs an in-depth inspection of each bridge, while bridges requiring maintenance are inspected more frequently.
All NDOT and consultant bridge inspectors are trained to federal standards and thoroughly review all elements of each bridge to evaluate condition, taking hundreds of precision measurements to evaluate complex bridge structures.
Minor bridge repairs are often performed immediately during bridge inspection in order to avoid any delays that could allow deterioration to worsen.
The national bridge survey ranked transportation funding as a major concern among many bridge engineers.
To preserve Nevada’s public bridges in good condition within available funding, the Nevada Department of Transportation prioritizes any necessary bridge repairs by first replacing or rehabilitating structurally deficient bridges, and then functionally obsolete bridges, before they become hazardous or burdensome to users.
Next, bridges that do not meet current seismic standards are retrofitted and other timely repairs are made to existing structures.
Nevada bridges were also ranked the nation’s best in the 2006 Better Roads survey.