2006 survey shows 1 in 9 Indiana bridges `structurally deficient'

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

A survey conducted last year found that one in nine Indiana bridges are considered "structurally deficient." That's the same designation inspectors gave in 2005 to the Minneapolis interstate bridge that collapsed Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Transportation statistics obtained by The Indianapolis Star classify 63 Indiana bridges as "structurally deficient." They also show that another 10.8 percent of the state's bridges are considered "functionally obsolete."

State transportation officials, however, said those terms are misleading and signal only a need for repairs or an update of bridge design, not a breakdown in the safety of the bridge.

A professor of civil engineering at Purdue University disagrees. Professor Kumares Sinha says the term "structurally deficient" typically indicates a potentially serious problem, such as a crack in a bridge's steel structure.

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