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As Motor Fuel Tax freeze debated, group says Illinois has third-most structurally deficient bridges in nation

Monday, Feb 7, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Associated Press story on the governor’s proposal to freeze the Motor Fuel Tax for a fiscal year

ISN’T ILLINOIS GETTING FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE MONEY?

That’s another reason Pritzker feels confident. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed in November will bring Illinois $3.8 billion over the next five years in addition to $14 billion already planned, according to the [Transportation for Illinois Coalition].

THEN WHY ARE TRANSPORTATION ADVOCATES COMPLAINING?

Because they say the need is so great. The money generated in the Rebuild Illinois plan was not enough to fix all the problems in the state, [Transportation for Illinois Coalition co-chair Kevin Burke] said.

And even with additional federal money, the state shouldn’t back off, said Ed Maher, spokesman for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150.

“It’s not as though we started this on a level playing field,” Maher said. “Our infrastructure was underfunded for decades so we’ve got a massive game of catch-up to play here. Now is not the time to start taking money out of that.”

* With that in mind, here’s a report from Axios

Roughly a third of the nation’s 620,000 bridges — 36% — need major repair work or replacement, a new report finds.

Why it matters: Deferred maintenance, climate change and heavier-than-anticipated traffic are causing bridges to wear out earlier than expected, and engineers say not enough is being done to keep drivers safe.

Driving the news: More than 43,500 U.S. bridges are in poor enough condition to be deemed “structurally deficient,” according to the report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

* According to the ARTBA report, Illinois has the third highest number of bridges which are deemed structurally deficient, after Iowa and Pennsylvania. The percentage of all our bridges is much lower than the 36 percent national number, however

• Of the 26,846 bridges in the state, 2,405, or 9.0 percent, are classified as structurally deficient. This means one of the key elements is in poor or worse condition.
• This is up from 2,224 bridges classified as structurally deficient in 2017.
• The deck area of structurally deficient bridges accounts for 12.2 percent of total deck area on all structures.
• 171 of the structurally deficient bridges are on the Interstate Highway System. A total of 83.5 percent of the structurally deficient bridges are not on the National Highway System, which includes the Interstate and other key roads linking major airports, ports, rail and truck terminals.
• 1,178 bridges are posted for load, which may restrict the size and weight of vehicles crossing the structure.
• The state has identified needed repairs on 4,099 bridges at an estimated cost of $6.4 billion.
• This compares to 4,035 bridges that needed work in 2017.

* The top five most-traveled bridges dubbed structurally deficient

I- 90,94 Elev Exp over Stewart Ave to 28 Pl [Cook County]
I- 90,94 Ryan Elev over 18th to 22nd Sts [Cook County]
I- 90,94 Ryan Elev over 22nd to SB Chi Rvr [Cook County]
I- 94 Bishop Ford over RR - Ihb & CSXt [Cook County]
I- 55 over Madison St [DuPage County]

104 urban interstate bridges are structurally deficient, the group says.

       

16 Comments
  1. - Leslie K - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 10:35 am:

    When sitting in traffic on the first 3 of those “top 5,” I have often wondered about their structural integrity. I guess I don’t have to wonder any more.


  2. - Wow - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 10:39 am:

    This budget gimmick should be put to bed ASAP..


  3. - City Zen - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 10:46 am:

    ==I- 90,94 Elev Exp over Stewart Ave to 28 Pl [Cook County]==

    Stewart is a skinny side street that runs parallel to wide rail lines on the South Side. At every cross street, there is a deep, dark, decaying tunnel passing underneath. Looks straight out of a horror movie. Anyone who’s been to a Sox game knows what I’m talking about.

    It’s time to ask, “Is this bridge really necessary?” Every side street does not require passage to the other side of the tracks. This problem is rampant all across Chicago.


  4. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 10:46 am:

    ==This budget gimmick should be put to bed ASAP..==

    Agreed. Reminiscent to me of Gov. Ryan suspending the gas tax for 6 months during the price spike in summer 2000, despite his Illinois First largesse.

    No budget gimmicks or tax cuts until these conditions are met: bill backlog 100% paid, at least a 3-6 month rainy day fund, and entire pension debt paid off. Even if it takes several generations to pull this off.

    Yes, I know this will be hard to get the 60/30/1 and 71/36/1 but just a thought.


  5. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 11:03 am:

    “Is this bridge really necessary”

    Union county recently demolished a two laner that spanned Rt 127. It connected the village of Alto Pass with a county road which led to Bald Knob Cross.
    It was replaced with a nice on/off road off of 127, and IMO looks 100% better.
    Not applicable everywhere, but that bridge, built I believe in the 40’s won’t be missed.


  6. - Been There - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 11:09 am:

    ====I- 90,94 Elev Exp over Stewart Ave to 28 Pl [Cook County]=====
    There better not be any concrete falling on Ricobene’s. Otherwise where else will we go for our breaded steak sandwiches.


  7. - Blake - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 11:20 am:

    Groups like ARTBA have the strongest financial incentive for more road construction and I wish their data weren’t taken as fact. Find someone without the conflicts of interest.


  8. - JS Mill - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 11:31 am:

    =This budget gimmick should be put to bed ASAP..=

    Your opposition to tax breaks and proper ellipses are noted.


  9. - DuPage - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 11:35 am:

    @- City Zen - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 10:46 am:

    ===It’s time to ask, “Is this bridge really necessary?” Every side street does not require passage to the other side of the tracks. ===

    These reduce local traffic from adding to the traffic congestion on the main streets, also emergency ambulances and police cars don’t have to wait for long freight trains.


  10. - NorthsideNoMore - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 11:38 am:

    You can’t neglect the infrastructure for decades and fix it in one or two capital spending bills. The 1/3 bridges in need of repairs/ replacement has been around for a long time. IIDOT ? ) did a study in late 90s indicating about the same percentages. TFIC might have that info going back that far.


  11. - Mike Sturino - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 11:45 am:

    ARTBA uses U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) data exclusively in their annual Bridge Report. Official information-no conflicts of interest.


  12. - AnonAgain - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 12:04 pm:

    Why didn’t Kevin Burke fix this when he worked at IDOT for 30 years


  13. - DuPage - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 12:04 pm:

    ===It’s time to ask, “Is this bridge really necessary?” Every side street does not require passage to the other side of the tracks. ===

    Overpasses and underpasses have been shown to reduce grade-crossing accidents. Even signals and gates are not always obeyed by motorists.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiOj58D4kek


  14. - Huh? - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 12:26 pm:

    A MFT holiday is a bad idea. It limits the amount of money that can be used to match federal dollars. People will point at local tax dollars, RBI, and other non-federal funds as potential substitutes. However, the fact of the matter is that MFT is the lions share that is available to the local agencies.


  15. - Pelonski - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 2:00 pm:

    Ther are much better ways to return tax to the people than an MFT freeze. I expect the majority of the MFT is paid by businesses such as FedEx, UPS, large trucking companies, and other commercial operations who are the ones who put the most strain on the transportation network.


  16. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Feb 7, 22 @ 3:21 pm:

    Must we wait until we see a School bus fall through one these many dilapidated bridges…I should hope not.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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