DC area ranks No. 1 for worn out, overworked bridges

A view Arlington National Cemetery and the Memorial Bridge. (WTOP File Photo/Dave Dildine)
A view of Arlington National Cemetery and the Memorial Bridge. (WTOP File Photo/Dave Dildine)

The busiest and most structurally deficient bridge in the state of Maryland is the one that carries the Capital Beltway over Central Avenue MD Route 214. (Courtesy The American Road & Transportation Builders Association)
The busiest and most structurally deficient bridge in the state of Maryland is the one that carries the Capital Beltway over Central Avenue/Maryland Route 214. (Courtesy The American Road & Transportation Builders Association)

In Virginia, the bridge with that distinction is in Virginia Beach where I-264 crosses Lynnhaven Parkway. (Courtesy The American Road & Transportation Builders Association)
In Virginia, the bridge with that distinction is in Virginia Beach, where Interstate 264 crosses Lynnhaven Parkway. (Courtesy The American Road & Transportation Builders Association)

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A view Arlington National Cemetery and the Memorial Bridge. (WTOP File Photo/Dave Dildine)
The busiest and most structurally deficient bridge in the state of Maryland is the one that carries the Capital Beltway over Central Avenue MD Route 214. (Courtesy The American Road & Transportation Builders Association)
In Virginia, the bridge with that distinction is in Virginia Beach where I-264 crosses Lynnhaven Parkway. (Courtesy The American Road & Transportation Builders Association)

WASHINGTON — Despite promises from the nation’s leaders dating to 2009 to rebuild America’s infrastructure, the nation’s bridges remain in a state of disrepair. And not far from the White House and Capitol Hill, some of the bridges in the D.C. area make the list of the busiest, most structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges in America.

The Auto Insurance Center, relying on data from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, said D.C. leads the nation with the most daily crossings of structurally deficient bridges, meaning at least one major bridge component has deteriorated.

For example, concrete decking has been reduced to gravel on the heavily-traveled Arlington Memorial Bridge.

The busiest and most structurally deficient bridge in the state of Maryland is the one that carries the Capital Beltway over Central Avenue/Maryland Route 214.

In Virginia, the bridge with that distinction is in Virginia Beach, where Interstate 264 crosses Lynnhaven Parkway.

D.C. also ranks No. 1 in the nation for the most functionally obsolete bridges. The Auto Insurance Center estimates that 63.67 percent of the District’s bridges don’t meet contemporary design standards. It doesn’t mean the bridge is structurally unsafe, but that it may not have enough lanes or breakdown lanes.

D.C. also tops another list with bridge replacement programs. While New Hampshire leads the nation with the most proposed bridge replacements at 97.87 percent, D.C. tops the list of “the fewest proposed bridge replacements” at 0.11 percent.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.


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