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More than 60% of Iowa’s bridges have been labeled either ‘fair’ or ‘poor’


IOWA (KWWL) -- According to The Iowa Capital Dispatch, the Iowa Department of Transportation reviewed the conditions of every bridge in the state, and found that more than 60% of Iowa's bridges remain in either 'fair' or 'poor' condition.

While 'poor' can denote a safety issue, the DOT reassured that was not what the label meant and said, “Poor bridges have deterioration or damage that may need repair or replacement in the near future.”

If a bridge is found to be 'unsafe', it will be closed and the DOT reported that in the most recent year of inspections, 348 state and local bridges were closed.

Overall, Iowa has 4,497 bridges rated “poor” and 9,996 listed as “fair” for a total of 60.8%. Another 9,340 bridges are considered in “good” condition based on inspections required by the Federal Highway Administration.

In its new report, the DOT highlighted that the number of “poor” bridges on state highways stands at 32, down from 237 in 2009 and three fewer than last year. Half of those bridges were over 43 years old. 

However, Iowa’s counties have 4,272 bridges rated “poor,” and the cities have 193. Nearly 80% of those bridges carry fewer than 100 vehicles a day, the state reported.

Last year, 300 more local bridges were rated “poor.”

In 2015, then-Gov. Terry Brandstand approved a 10-cent increase in fuel taxes to generate $200 million a year for road and bridge projects. 

President Joe Biden eyed bridge projects as one element of his original $2 trillion infrastructure package, which has been scaled back as members of Congress seek a compromise.

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