Report: 422 Oregon bridges are 'structurally deficient'

Morrison Bridge - KATU image

PORTLAND, Ore. — A new report says there are more than 400 structurally deficient bridges in Oregon.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) recently released its 2019 Bridge Report, KATU News confirmed.

The report states that of the 8,161 bridges in Oregon, 422 (or 5.2%) are classified as structurally deficient -- which means one of the key elements is in "poor or worse condition."

Oregon's number is slightly up from 2014 when 403 bridges were in need of crucial repairs. The state has identified needed repairs on 2,007 bridges, which would cost an estimated $1.8 billion.

"Structurally deficient means that it has some condition, whether it be on the deck, or the under substructure, that could be deteriorating," Oregon Department of Transportation Region 1 bridge maintenance supervisor Mike Gehring told KATU News.

Gehring says the state Legislature has dedicated money for bridge maintenance statewide, but the state also has a lot of bridges that are already old and getting older.

"Like with your house, we have to repair," said Gehring, "We have to maintain. We have to do upkeep on our structures. It's a little difficult at times to keep up with them but we do our best."

The most traveled structurally deficient bridges in Oregon include Bull Run Road over Bull Run River in Clackamas County and the Morrison Bridge.

On Wednesday afternoon, Multnomah County officials said they believe the Morrison Bridge received a new rating this year after work was completed in 2017 to replace the bridge's road deck.

Multnomah County Transportation spokesman Mike Pullen said the county believes the Morrison Bridge will likely be off the list next year because of that completed deck work.

In Washington, the report found that 382 structurally deficient bridges. That's out of the state's total 8,278 bridges.

ARTBA says that the state identified 6,080 bridges in need of repairs, with an estimated price tag of $9.2 billion.

While most of Washington's "most traveled structurally deficient bridges" are in King County, two Southwest Washington crossings were identified; the I-5 bridges over the Lewis River in Clark County, and I-5 over the Toutle River in Cowlitz County.

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