TRIP Report: Nine Percent Of Southern Maine Bridges And 14 Percent Of Statewide Bridges Are Structurally Deficient.

                                                        

Nine Percent Of Southern Maine Bridges And 14 Percent Of Statewide Bridges Are Structurally Deficient. New Report Identifies Bridges In Southern Maine, Bangor And Central Maine That Are In Need Of Repair Or Replacement 

Fourteen percent of bridges statewide and nine percent of bridges in Southern Maine are structurally deficient according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is a significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

The TRIP report, Preserving Maine’s Bridges: The Condition and Funding Needs of Maine’s Aging Bridge System,” finds that Maine has the ninth highest rate of structurally deficient bridges in the nation. In Southern Maine, which includes Cumberland and York Counties, 53 of the 566 bridges (20 feet or longer) are structurally deficient. Bridges that are structurally deficient may be posted for lower weight limits or closed if their condition warrants such action. Deteriorated bridges can have a significant impact on daily life. Restrictions on vehicle weight may cause many vehicles – especially emergency vehicles, commercial trucks, school buses and farm equipment – to use alternate routes to avoid weight-restricted bridges. Redirected trips also lengthen travel time, waste fuel and reduce the efficiency of the local economy.

MaineDOT’s current funding for state bridge repairs is $105 annually, but a 2014 report found that the state should be spending $140 million annually to maintain bridges in their current condition and $217 million annually to make significant progress in improving the condition of the state’s bridges.  Early findings from an updated bridge analysis being conducted by MaineDOT indicate that the annual cost to maintain the state’s bridges in their current condition has increased significantly from the 2014 estimate.

A significant number of Maine’s bridges were built from the 1950s through the 1970s and have surpassed or are approaching 50 years old, which is typically the intended design life for bridges built during this era. The average age of Maine’s bridges is 52 years. The cost of repairing and preserving bridges increases as they age and as they reach the end of their intended design life.

“Maine’s businesses and employers alike rely on transportation systems to connect them to their workforce and to connect that workforce with suppliers and customers around the state and around the globe,” said Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “Ensuring that our bridges continue to be safe, and addressing the backlog of needs in roads, bridges and all transportation infrastructure is critical to growing our economy.  We can and we must do better to make transportation funding a higher priority for our state.”

The TRIP report includes lists of the 25 most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges in Southern Maine, Bangor and Central Maine. It also includes lists of the 25 structurally deficient bridges in each region that have the lowest average rating for deck, substructure, and superstructure. The report’s appendix includes a list of all structurally deficient bridges in Maine that carry more than 500 vehicles per day.

The chart below details the 10 most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges in the Southern Maine region. A list of the 25 most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges in the region is available in the report.

The following 10 structurally deficient bridges in Southern Maine have the lowest average rating for deck, substructure, and superstructure (carrying a minimum of 500 vehicles per day). Each major component of a bridge is rated on a scale of zero to nine, with a score of four or below indicating the poor condition. If a bridge receives a rating of four or below for its deck, substructure or superstructure, it is rated as structurally deficient. A list of the 25 bridges in Southern Maine with the lowest average sufficiency rating is included in the report.

“We must invest wisely in infrastructure improvements that not only account for today’s needs but also prioritize needs for the future,” said Pat Moody, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England. “With 2016 highway fatalities topping 37,000 last year and marking the highest total since 2008, we must invest in our highway system to promote efficiency, reduce congestion and reduce the deaths and injuries on our roadways.”

“Maine’s bridges are a critical component of the state’s transportation system, providing crucial connections for personal mobility, economic growth, and quality of life,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without increased and reliable transportation funding, numerous projects to improve and preserve Maine’s aging bridges will not move forward, hampering the state’s ability to efficiently and safely move people and goods.”

Executive Summary

Maine’s bridges are a critical element of the state’s transportation system which supports commerce, economic vitality, and personal mobility. The state’s transportation system is literally the backbone of Maine’s economy. Maine’s transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions, while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers, and employees.

As vehicle travel again begins to increase in Maine, maintaining Maine’s aging transportation network, including its bridges will become more difficult. A significant number of Maine’s bridges were built from the 1950s through the 1970s and have surpassed or are approaching 50 years old, which is typically the intended design life for bridges built during this era. The average age of Maine’s bridges is 52 years. The cost of repairing and preserving bridges increases as they age and as they reach the end of their intended design life.

To retain businesses, accommodate population and economic growth, maintain economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, Maine will need to maintain and modernize its bridges by repairing or replacing deficient bridges and providing needed maintenance on other bridges to ensure that they remain in good condition as long as possible. Making needed improvements to Maine’s bridges will require increased and reliable funding from local, state and federal governments, which will also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of preserved and enhanced mobility and access.

Population and Vehicle Travel growth

Increased demands on Maine’s major roads, highways, and bridges, leads to additional wear and tear on its transportation system.

  • Maine’s population reached approximately 1.3 million residents in 2016, a four percent increase since 2000. Maine had 1 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Maine remain largely unchanged between 2000 and 2013, but has increased by six percent over the last three years, from 14.1 billion VMT in 2013 to 15 billion VMT in 2016. By 2030, vehicle travel in Maine is projected to increase by another ten percent.
  • From 2000 to 2015, Maine’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by nine percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased by 27 percent from 2000 to 2015, when adjusted for inflation.

MAINE BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Fourteen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Maine are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge. This is the ninth highest rate in the nation.

  • There are a total of 2,450 bridges in Maine that are 20 feet or longer. These bridges are maintained by local and state agencies.
  • Fourteen percent of Maine’s state-and locally maintained bridges are structurally deficient, the ninth highest rate in the nation.
  • Bridges that are structurally deficient may be posted for lower weight limits or closed if their condition warrants such action. Deteriorated bridges can have a significant impact on daily life. Restrictions on vehicle weight may cause many vehicles – especially emergency vehicles, commercial trucks, school buses and farm equipment – to use alternate routes to avoid weight-restricted bridges. Redirected trips also lengthen travel time, waste fuel and reduce the efficiency of the local economy.
  • A significant number of Maine’s bridges were built from the 1950s through the 1970s and have surpassed or are approaching 50 years old, which is typically the intended design life for bridges built during this era. The average age of Maine’s bridges is 52 years. The cost of repairing and preserving bridges increases as they age and as they reach the end of their intended design life.
  • The chart below details the number and share of structurally deficient bridges statewide and in each county in Maine.The report’s appendix includes a list of all structurally deficient bridges in Maine that carry more than 500 vehicles per day.
  • The chart below details the number and share of structurally deficient bridges in the Bangor area (which includes Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties), Central Maine (which includes Kennebec and Somerset Counties) and Southern Maine (which includes Cumberland and York Counties).

  • The list below details the 25 most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges in the Bangor area. ADT is average daily traffic.

  • The following 25 structurally deficient bridges in the Bangor area have the lowest average rating for deck, substructure, and superstructure (carrying a minimum of 500 vehicles per day). Each major component of a bridge is rated on a scale of zero to nine, with a score of four or below indicating the poor condition. If a bridge receives a rating of four or below for its deck, substructure or superstructure, it is rated as structurally deficient.

  • The list below details the 25 most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges in Central Maine

  • The following 25 structurally deficient bridges in Central Maine have the lowest average rating for deck, substructure, and superstructure (carrying a minimum of 500 vehicles per day). Each major component of a bridge is rated on a scale of zero to nine, with a score of four or below indicating the poor condition. If a bridge receives a rating of four or below for its deck, substructure or superstructure, it is rated as structurally deficient.

  • The list below details the 25 most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges in Southern Maine.

  • The following 25 structurally deficient bridges in Southern Maine have the lowest average rating for deck, substructure, and superstructure (carrying a minimum of 500 vehicles per day). Each major component of a bridge is rated on a scale of zero to nine, with a score of four or below indicating the poor condition. If a bridge receives a rating of four or below for its deck, substructure or superstructure, it is rated as structurally deficient.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING AND PRESERVING MAINE’S AGING BRIDGES

Maintaining aging bridges becomes more costly as they reach the limits of their design life, challenging state and local transportation agencies to take an asset management approach to bridge preservation that emphasizes enhanced maintenance techniques that keep infrastructure in good condition as long as possible, delaying the need for costly reconstruction or replacement.

  • Repairing and replacing poor bridges and preserving bridges that are in fair and good condition requires adequate and consistent funding.   The current replacement cost of Maine’s state-maintained bridges is $8.2 billion.
  • MaineDOT’s current annual bridge funding is $105 million per year from 2016 to 2018. This level of annual investment is slightly lower than the $112 million per year from 2009 to 2013 that resulted from the authorization of $160 million in TransCap bonds.
  • The report, “Keeping our Bridges Safe 2014,” found that an annual bridge investment of $140 million was needed to maintain the state’s bridges in their current condition. An annual investment of $217 million in the state’s bridges would be needed to maintain the entire bridge system and substantially meet service, condition and safety goals.
  • Early findings from a new analysis by MaineDOT are showing that the annual investment needed to maintain bridges in their current condition has increased significantly, as may be expected due to the ongoing funding level gap.
  • Repairing and replacing bridges in poor condition and preserving bridges in fair and good condition will require increased and reliable funding from local, state and federal governments.
  • A recent survey of states by the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) found that more than half of states surveyed (14 out of 24) reported that inadequate funding was a challenge to their ability to maintain bridges in a state of good repair.
  • Under pressure from fiscal constraints, aging bridges, and increased wear due to growing travel volume, particularly by large trucks, transportation agencies are adopting cost-effective strategies focused on keeping bridges in good condition as long as possible. While this strategy requires increased initial investment, it saves money over the long run by extending the lifespan of bridges.
  • The GAO Report found that the increase in the number and size of bridges that are approaching the limits of their design life will likely place a greater demand on bridge owners in the near future, making it more difficult to mitigate issues in a cost-effective manner.
  • A survey included in the GAO report found that more than half of states surveyed (13 out of 24) indicated that the advanced age of many bridges posed a challenge to their ability to maintain their bridges in a state of good repair.
  • The average age of Maine’s bridges is 52 years. The design life of most bridges is 50 years, though bridges havelifespanss that are dependent on factors such as materials, environment, level of use, and level of maintenance. Current design guidelines and construction materials may raise the expected service life of new bridges to 75 years or longer.
  • Bridge preservation may include washing, sealing deck joints, facilitating drainage, sealing concrete, painting steel, removing channel debris, and protecting against stream erosion.
  • Rehabilitation involves major work required to restore the structural integrity of a bridge as well as work necessary to correct major safety defects.
  • Replacement projects include total replacements, superstructure replacements, and bridge widening.
  • The need to repair or replace high priority bridges may create a funding cycle that makes it difficult to keep pace with the needed preservation activities.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN MAINE

The efficiency of Maine’s transportation system, particularly its roads, highways and bridges, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses rely on an efficient and dependable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $89 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Maine with 80 percent of the freight tonnage being shipped by trucks.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to relocate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Sources of information for this report include the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Bridge Inventory (NBI), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and the U.S. Census Bureau.

 

 

0 Response to “TRIP Report: Nine Percent Of Southern Maine Bridges And 14 Percent Of Statewide Bridges Are Structurally Deficient.”


Comments are currently closed.