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Pittsburgh bridge collapse brings questions about Ohio bridge safety

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 6:18 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - No one was seriously hurt when a bridge collapsed in the Pittsburgh area on Friday morning, but it certainly frightened the people who were on the bridge at the time and certainly raised questions about bridge safety around the country.

The American Society of Civil Engineers releases an infrastructure report card every year, and Ohio’s bridges received a C+ for 2021.

The report claims that there are 44,736 bridges across the state, 58 percent of which were rated in good condition, 36 percent were rated as in fair condition, and 6 percent were in poor condition.

Cities, Counties, and Townships across the state of Ohio are responsible for inspecting and maintaining the bridges in their areas. The Ohio Department of Transportation is responsible for all the bridges that connect the state highway and roads.

“When you look at our bridges overall, we carry an average rating of a 7, that is on a scale of zero to 9, with zero being a bridge that closed because it failed and 9 being a brand new bridge,” said Matt Bruning ODOT Press Secretary.

ODOT, according to Bruning, inspects newer bridges every two years and will inspect older bridges or bridges that have started to have issues at least once a year.

Cleaning, maintaining, and repairing bridge decks are a critical piece of the process.

“The biggest thing for us is to invest and maintain; preservation is 93 cents of every dollar that we invest in construction, so that’s just taking care of what we have,” Bruning said.

A key reason ODOT has been able to maintain the investment in bridge infrastructure, and other projects, came just a few years ago when the gasoline tax was raised 10 cents a gallon.

That money was significant through the pandemic as people cut down significantly on their travels.

“Had we not had that increase that was afforded to us by the General Assembly and the Governor, we would have been in a really, really bad situation,” Bruning said.

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