A statewide list of structurally deficient bridges released Thursday by the Texas Department of Transportation includes six structures each in Brown and Callahan counties, 20 in Comanche County, four in Coleman County, 13 in Eastland County and three in McCulloch County.
TxDOT spokesperson Holly Hughes of Fort Worth said the list, released after a careful review of state and federal regulations governing the release of infrastructure data, names 2,024 structurally deficient bridges.
All but three of those area bridges are “off system,” according to documents prepared by the department. That generally means they are county or municipal roads.
The term “structurally deficient” does not necessarily mean a bridge with that label is an imminent safety threat, officials said. Instead, it is a term used by the Federal Highway Administration to classify and prioritize bridges for federal funding. Structurally deficient bridges receive priority for limited rehabilitation on replacement funds from the federal government. Bridges that are unsafe or present an imminent public danger are closed to traffic.
The Brown County bridges on the list are on CR 114 over Turkey Creek, about a mile off State Highway 279; on CR 231 over Blanket Creek, .25 of a mile southeast of Farm-to-Market Road 5467; on CR 306 over Blanket Creek a mile east of FM 590; on CR 114 over West Holloway Creek .3 of a mile west of SH 279; on CR 225 over Clear Creek just southwest of FM 586; and on CR 201 over Clear Creek 3.3 miles southwest of FM 1176.
One of the three on-system bridges listed in the above counties is on FM 570 over Lick Branch in Eastland County, about a mile east of FM 2214.
The other two are in Callahan County, and reconstruction is currently under way. They are on FM 2228 over a draw almost four miles south of Interstate 20, and on FM 1864 over Battle Creek .4 of a mile east of FM 880.
“TxDOT’s decision was reached after examining rules that strictly limit the release of bridge information collected for federal reports and additional homeland security constraints on the publication of data regarding the state’s critical infrastructure,” a statement released by Hughes said.
TxDOT records indicate that 4 percent of the state’s bridges are listed as structurally deficient. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported in 2006 that 12 percent of the nation’s bridges were identified as structurally deficient. TxDOT’s program to inspect all 50,000 of the state’s bridges and rehabilitate and replace bridges that require improvement is producing results. In 2002, Texas was home to 2,928 structurally deficient bridges. The current figure is a 31 percent reduction in structurally deficient bridges.
Of the state’s bridges classified as “structurally deficient,” 445 are on the state highway system and 1,579 are off-system structures. Some 282 bridges classified as structurally deficient are currently under contract to be rehabilitated or replaced. Another 1,303 bridges classified as structurally deficient are under development as part of the state’s Unified Transportation Plan. The state’s remaining 439 bridges classified as structurally deficient are not currently scheduled for rehabilitation or replacement, and no funding has been identified for them.
To help meet the challenge of maintaining the safety of the state’s roads and bridges as transportation demand increases, TxDOT staff announced in June that more than $6 billion would need to be transferred from new construction to routine maintenance to ensure the safety and quality of the state’s highway system over the next five years.
The list of the state’s structurally deficient bridges is available on the department’s Web site, www.txdot.gov.