36% of U.S. Bridges Need Repair or Replacement, ARTBA Reports

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Updated Sep 6, 2023
aerial view of Brent Spence Bridge between Ohio and Kentucky
The Brent Spence Bridge between Kentucky and Ohio is slated for a major reconstruction project with help from a $1.385 billion federal grant.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

More than one-third of US. bridges need to be repaired or replaced, according to a new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

That translates into 220,000 bridges (36%) needing work – 76,600 of which need to be replaced.

ARTBA estimates it would cost over $319 billion to make all the needed repairs.

But help is on the way to states, although at funding levels nowhere near that amount. They have access to about $26.5 billion in the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure law between now and the next three years. And some states have already begun committing that funding to bridge work.

“The good news is that states are beginning to employ these new resources to address long-overdue bridge needs,” ARTBA President and CEO Dave Bauer said. “The better news is that more improvements are on the way.”

“Most bridges are inspected every two years, so it takes time for repairs and rehabilitation efforts to show up in the annual federal data,” explains ARTBA Chief Economist Alison Premo Black, who wrote ARTBA’s bridge report. “What we do know now from other market indicators is that there are more bridge projects in the pipeline.”

Report Highlights

Here are some highlights from ARTBA’s Bridge Report, which is based on analysis of the recently updated 2023 National Bridge Inventory database from the U.S. Department of Transportation:

  • Placed end-to-end, the 220,000 bridges needing repair or replacement would stretch over 6,100 miles.
  • The number of bridges in poor condition declined by 560 compared to 2022. At the current pace, it would take 75 years to repair them all.
  • Over the last five years, the share of bridges in fair condition continues to grow. In 2023, nearly half of all U.S. bridges (48.9 percent) were in fair condition.
  • This fiscal year, states have committed $3.2 billion, or 30%, of available federal bridge formula funds to 2,060 projects, with another $7.4 billion still coming.
  • Eight states committed more than two-thirds of their available bridge formula funds: Idaho (100 percent), Georgia (100 percent), Alabama (97 percent), Arizona (88 percent), Indiana (81.5 percent), Florida (80 percent), Texas (78 percent) and Arkansas (68 percent).
  • 31 states have committed less than 33% of their available bridge formula funds as of June.