One in five county bridges in Nebraska is in poor shape, according to the state Department of Roads (NDOR).
Engineers from across the state recently met to talk about how to improve the aging county bridge system.
Mark Traynowicz, NDOR state bridge engineer, says the situation is the same across the country.
“The money to keep them in good condition just isn’t there,” Traynowicz tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Many bridges built in the mid to late 20th Century were built for 50 years, so we have a large number of bridges that are over 50 years old, and then just with the age and the traffic, they deteriorate over time.”
Nebraska lawmakers are considering a new transportation improvement fund of up to $300 million.
State Senator Jim Smith’s bill (LB960) would include matching funds for counties to repair or replace bridges.
“Each county has a one and six year plan as far as repair and replace bridges,” Traynowicz says. “The bottom line is we need to ensure safety. If a bridge isn’t safe, we close it. It’s as simple as that.”
NDOR is supporting Smith’s bill, which recently had a hearing before the Appropriations Committee.