Report: Houston-area bridges designated "structurally deficient"

Recent report from Texas DoT lists several bridges as either "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete"

Author: Robert Arnold, Investigative Reporter, rarnold@kprc.com
Published On: May 24 2013 10:21:38 PM CDT   Updated On: May 24 2013 11:49:21 PM CDT
HOUSTON -

A recently released report from the Texas Department of Transportation lists several bridges in Harris County as either "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete."

These bridges are a mixture of those maintained by the state and federal governments and those maintained by local municipalities.

According to the state, there are 3,584 "on system" and "off system" bridges in Harris County. An "on system" bridge is part of the designated state highway system.

According to the state's report, 33 bridges in Harris County are considered "structurally deficient" and another 1,313 are designated "functionally obsolete."

The state defines "structurally deficient" as a bridge that floods waters frequently overtop, is closed or has deteriorated to the point it has strict load carrying capacities.

The state defines "functionally obsolete" as a bridge that fails to meet design criteria for deck geometry, load carrying capacity, vertical or horizontal clearances and approach roadway alignment.

In the five counties surrounding Harris County, the state reports there are 2,146 bridges. Seventy-three are designated "structurally deficient" and 249 are designated as "functionally obsolete."

Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation told Local 2 these designations do not mean a bridge is unsafe or in danger of collapse. TxDot officials said these designation are a way to prioritize which bridges need repairs and upgrades first.

According to the state there are 52,227 bridges in Texas, which 9 percent of the entire nation's bridge inventory. Tx Dot officials said every bridge in Texas is inspected at least once every 24 months.