Report: 3 Area Bridges Deemed 'Structurally Deficient'

February 02, 2018 10:59 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Nearly one-third of the country's bridges need some kind of repairs, and one in ten are considered "structurally deficient," a report from the nonpartisan American Road and Transportation Builders Association found.

In Iowa alone, 5,067 bridges -- more than 20 percent of all bridges in the state -- are considered structurally deficient, meaning any part of the bridge, including its deck, structure, culverts or retaining walls is rated in poor condition.


Iowa tops the nation in the number of deficient bridges, which Department of Transportation Field Services Coordinator Pete Hjelstad said is due to a variety of factors.

"There are a lot of bridges (and) not a lot of people, a lot of traffic as far as the agricultural things, so the age, all that plays into it," he said.

The report found Minnesota has 709 structurally deficient bridges, just over five percent of the total bridges in the state, placing it 26th overall.

Truck driver Gerald Fuller, who has driven through Iowa for nearly a decade, said the findings are not surprising.

"You see bridges and overpasses, you see metal sticking out of some of the overpasses, there's cement crumbling," he said.

The majority of the deficient bridges are on city, county and township roads, Hjelstad said. At the state level, Iowa has reduced the number of deficient bridges on major highways from 256 a decade ago to just 51 now.

Given President Trump's call during Tuesday's State of the Union address to find an additional $1.5 trillion in funding for infrastructure projects, Hjelstad said he's optimistic some progress can be made.

"The fact that it's being talked about at the federal level and the fact there's a possibility of putting more revenue into the infrastructure, that's very encouraging news," he said.

Hjelstad stressed that even if repairs to these bridges aren't made immediately, there's no need to fear the daily commute.

"A structurally deficient bridge isn't necessarily unsafe. If there are any unsafe bridges, they're closed, they would not be allowed for vehicle traffic," he said.

Three of the most traveled deficient bridges are in the ABC 6 viewing area, including:


  • 12th Street Northwest over Willow Creek near Mason City, which was built in 1950
  • 13th Street Northeast over the Winnebago River in Mason City, which was built in 1938


  • Southbound Interstate 35 over Turtle Creek near Owatonna, which was built in 1964

For the full report, visit


Logan Reigstad

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