22 February 2017

Locate structurally deficient bridges near you

The Washington Post offers an interactive map which lets you click on your county and then zoom in to identify bridges that have been deemed structurally deficient (and others that are "functionally obsolete.")


  1. Need to really check these stats...may be a bit out of date...one bridge shown on the map is up the road from my house, showing as structurally deficient and open with no restrictions. However, this bridge was closed over two years ago when a new bridge was built on the next block. The old bridge is being turned into a pedestrian walkway.

    1. I think your concerns are addressed at the link:
      The latest data available is the 2015 National Bridge Inventory. The data is created locally and compiled by the Federal Highway Administration, so the status of some bridges may have changed since the inspection referenced here. Some location data may not be exact and some location information may not be available for some small bridges. Federal rules govern the inspections, but inspections are generally done locally, so each inspector may reach different conclusions. New bridges or bridges that have been recently rebuilt are not classified as either “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete,” so they would not be included here.

    2. Having been involved through my HOA with the county after SC's historic flood if 2015, I was aware that many federal databases are at the mercy of state and local governments for the data - I am familiar with this database and know it's full of errors. I also know, for a fact, that my county had reported the bridge's closing at the time it occurred, well before 2015. There is also at least one dam which has been reported to Feds but has yet to show up in the database. Because of this I always treat any numbers from the Fed as heavily suspect. Heaven only knows how much data is sitting around in DC awaiting input. Dealing with a natural disaster shows the gross inefficiencies of the federal government.

      The hoops one had to jump through and the unbelievable amount of paperwork required from homeowners by FEMA was a nightmare. Some are still dealing with it fifteen months later. If it hadn't been for the churches and their volunteers, the building supplies donated by local businesses and the meals donated by local eateries we'd probably still have empty and unrepaired homes. St Bernard's Project out of Louisiana was and is a godsend for those in dire financial straits. The federal government certainly wasn't any help. (Learn about them at stbenardproject.org.) One hears about these massive volunteer recovery operations in the news but until you've personally lived through one you really have no idea.

      Our county government's response was stellar even though they have their own nightmare getting FEMA reimbursements to cover the cost of the emergency response teams, road and bridge repairs, etc. Our county and local law enforcement and fire departments were superb. All continue to work with us as we try to get the last repairs done and help us keep a lookout at those few homes which are empty and will likely be condemned - a whole other bunch of red tape.

      A word of warning to those who may have to deal with FEMA in the future - FEMA does NOT provides the funds to rebuild your home as it was, but only to make it habitable. Hardwood floors? Nope - vinyl flooring is the best you'll be able to buy with FEMA reimbursement. Coverage for insulation of ductwork in your basement or crawlspace? Not here as insulation in these spaces is not required by the county building codes. Some homeowners were told that certain structures weren't covered at all - outside storage sheds, tools and equipment in those sheds, a sunroom because it wasn't a room required for home habitation.

      If you have flood insurance, read that policy. Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is available ONLY to those whose primary residence is covered to at least 80% of its value. All others are covered at the Actual Cash Value (ACV) - this is the RCV at the time of loss minus physical depreciation.

      These were some hard lessons learned by our homeowners, and an eye-opener for those of us blessed not to suffer any damage. After hearing these horror stories we re-evaluated our coverage and made necessary changes. One never knows when Mother Nature may get nasty.


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