Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

A cluster of the nation's deficient bridges are in South Dakota and neighboring states.
A cluster of the nation's deficient bridges are in South Dakota and neighboring states.
Map by the Washington Post
February 12, 2015

SD No. 4 For Deficient Bridges

With 20 percent of its bridges deemed structurally deficient, South Dakota is near the top nationally on that score, reports the Washington Post. The Rushmore State is within a few percentage points of the No. 1 spot, and well ahead of some states that have rates in the low single digits. 

South Dakota's neighboring states of Iowa and Nebraska are in the same boat, with No. 3 Iowa approaching 21 percent and No. 6 Nebraska at more than 17 percent. Rhode Island is No. 1 at 22.72 percent, while Pennsylvania is No 2 at 22.26 percent. 

In South Dakota, 1,174 of our 5,872 bridges are deemed deficient, which means engineers have found at least one component in need of repair. 

When bridge engineers evaluate a bridge, they grade the condition of each of its major components -- its supports, the deck that vehicles travel across, etc. -- on a 0 to 9 scale. If any of these components receive a grade below a given threshold, the bridge is deemed structurally deficient. It needs some repair work to get back up to snuff.

Former national Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said these bridges are not necessarily "unsafe" but that they are "dangerous." 

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