National bridge report doesn't reflect the whole story

Pictured is Caveman Bridge, which runs across the Rogue River in Josephine County. (News 10 File Photo)

A new report published by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association categorizes more than 400 bridges in the state of Oregon as "structurally deficient," meaning a key element is in "poor or worse condition." Two bridges in southern Oregon are on that list.

In their 2019 annual report, the ARTBA lists the Barnett Road bridge over Interstate-5 in Jackson County and the US 199 (Hwy 025) bridge, known as the Caveman Bridge, over the Rogue River in Josephine County among the "Top Most Traveled Structurally Deficient Bridges in Oregon." It also estimates that the Barnett Road bridge sees roughly 17,000 daily crossings, while the bridge over the Rogue River sees approximately 30,900 crossings daily.

However, Gary Leaming, spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Transportation, says that this report is using outdated data, and does not factor in recent repairs. According to him, both bridges have been fixed in the last year. The Barnett Road bridge was repaired as early as the summer of 2018.

Leaming also says that the report's statement about the Caveman Bridge having over 30,000 daily crossings is also incorrect. He clarifies that figure is more like 19,000 vehicles a day.

The state estimates that the cost to repair all of Oregon's bridges would total over $1.8 billion.

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