Maryland’s Department of Transportation (DoT) is in the process of an emergency inspection of 27 of its state-owned bridges. This was ordered immediately by the head of the Maryland DoT after a piece of concrete fell from the bottom of Interstate 495’s overpass in Morningside. The DoT is inspecting all 27 state-owned bridges to ensure that they are in working condition and to begin repairs on bridges that may potentially need repairs to prevent chunks of concrete from falling onto motorists.
Each of the 27 bridges were originally built pre-1969. They are all overpasses, so the danger to motorists going to and from every day is growing after the first instant. Most of these bridges are scheduled for various repairs over the next few years but that schedule may need to be readjusted based on the DoT’s assessment of their bridges.
Maryland residents, along with its biggest motor club, are applauding the attention to detail the Maryland DoT is paying after the initial incident. Unfortunately, many states wait until more traffic circumstances to make bridge safety a priority as we’ve seen over the last few decades. Most of the infrastructure across the nation is aging quicker than it’s being repaired, and many bridges and overpasses were built shortly after the Great Depression when America started recovering.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), around three percent of the 2,903 bridges that are currently maintained by the State Highway Administration (SHA) and Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) are structurally deficient. The FHA deems these bridges are safe for travelers but don’t need emergency replacement or repairs for now. However, several of these bridges are on the list of what Maryland’s DoT is inspecting, and then determinations will be made if emergency repairs are necessary at this time.
Concrete bridges are sound and structurally secure when built. However, the country’s bridges are getting older and are put to the test year-after-year as more and more motorists take to the road. After time, they have to repaired, replaced and restructured just because of the amount of use that goes with them.