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Study: High Traffic on Poor Bridges

Transportation for America ranks Los Angeles region as having highest amount of traffic on "deficient" bridges in the country.

Hermosa Beach drivers are likely to be among the about 396 vehicles that cross a structurally deficient bridge while traveling through Los Angeles every second on average, according to Transportation for America.

The national coalition of transportation and environmental advocacy groups released a report Wednesday that studied and ranked structurally deficient bridges in U.S. metropolitan areas.

The report found, "California leads the nation with the busiest deficient bridges," and the Los Angeles region ranks highest when it comes to the amount of traffic that crosses "deficient" structures.

But when it comes to the number of deficient bridges in the area, Los Angeles doesn’t rank as high as other places. Only 8.3 percent of bridges in the region were labeled as "deficient" in the report.

"These metropolitan area bridges are most costly and difficult to fix, but they also are the most urgent, because they carry such a large share of the nation’s people and goods," said James Corless, director of Transportation for America, in a statement Wednesday.

The organization ranked areas based on data from the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation:

Rank Metro Population Metro Area Percent of Deficient Total Deficient Bridges 1 2,354,957 Pittsburgh 30.4 1133 2 4,317,853 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont 20.9 380 3 5,968,252 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington 20 907 4 2,127,355 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade 15.4 211 5 4,143,113 Riverside-San Bernardino 12.2

296

6 2,067,585 Kansas City 12.1 617 7 4,588,680 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy 11.7 308 8 4,403,437 Detroit-Warren-Livonia 11.5 286 9 2,091,286 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor 11.4 213 10 19,069,796 New York-Long Island 9.8 778 11 9,580,567 Chicago-Naperville-Joliet 9.4 481 12 2,828,990 St. Louis 8.8 390 13 12,874,797 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana 8.3

386

(Source: Transportation for America)

"It is clear that we cannot continue down this path of deferring all of our current transportation infrastructure needs for the next generation to tackle," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in response to the study. "Infrastructure projects that repair our roads, bridges and highways will create badly needed jobs here in Los Angeles and across the nation."

Transportation for America actually credited Caltrans for doing a good job spending the federal dollars it receives on bridge maintenance, as spokesman Ryan Wiggins told City News Service that California actually spends about one-quarter of the federal transportation funding it receives, compared with a state average closer to 14 percent.

"It's just not enough," he said.

— City News Service contributed to this report.

What do you think of this study—is more support needed for highway and bridge repairs or should government focus on other important matters?

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