brooklyn bridge, bridge
Brooklyn Bridge is among more than 1,800 "structurally deficient" bridges in the state. Photo: Philip Greenberg

Have you walked or ridden over the Brooklyn Bridge lately? The iconic infrastructure is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the country — and it’s structurally deficient, along with more than 1,800 other bridges in New York state, according to a new report.

 

Of the approximately 17,450 bridges in New York, 1,837 — or 10.5 percent — are classified as “structurally deficient,” according to new data from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

 

Parts of the Gowanus Expressway and the Belt Parkway are also on the list. In total, 22 of the 25 most-traveled structurally deficient bridges in the state are in New York City (though that list includes data from the now-demolished old Kosciuszko Bridge).

 

Of all the structurally deficient-deemed bridges in the state, 188 are on the Interstate Highway System and 841 are “posted for load,” according to the report, meaning that bridge has a specific weight limit posted on a sign, limiting the size and weight of vehicles that can cross it.

 

“Structurally deficient” means that one of the bridge or elevated roadway’s key elements is in “poor or worse condition,” per Federal Highway Administration standards. 

 

A structurally deficient bridge is not likely to collapse, according to the state Department of Transportation, but does often require significant maintenance to repair its condition or improve functionality.

The state has actually identified needed repairs for 17,437 bridges, according to the American Road association, adding even more onto that infrastructure price tag.

All these bridge repairs will cost $67.7 billion, New York state officials estimate.

Bridge investment has been a large focus of the state, accounting for about two-thirds of all highway and bridge contracts over the past five years. The national average for that portion is 29 percent.

Over the past 10 years, 1,450 new bridges have been conducted by the state and 750 have undergone “major reconstruction.”

The report was part of a larger effort by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association looking at bridge infrastructure across the country.

In total, more than 54,000 bridges in the United States are rated “structurally deficient” — bridges that Americans cross 174 million times a day.

If placed end-to-end, the length of these deficient roadways would stretch “1,216 miles, or nearly the distance between Miami and New York City,” according to the report.

New York state ranked number 10 out of the entire nation in terms of the number of structurally deficient bridges and number 14 based on the percent of bridges with that rating.