Are the ETX bridges you drive across safe? - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Are the ETX bridges you drive across safe?

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By Lauren Callahan

(KLTV) - There are 93 structurally deficient bridges in East Texas, but as it turns out, they aren't all bad.

"A structurally deficient bridge is any bridge that wasn't built yesterday," said Larry Krantz of TX-DOT. "Almost literally."

"I wouldn't freak out. Structurally deficient means it has some problems that it may not perform to the design load that it was originally designed for," said former Smith County engineer Bill Bala.

All bridges are rated for the loads they carry. Bridges can have a high rating and still be structurally deficient.

Property, fuel, and vehicle taxes pay for roads and bridges. TX-DOT takes care of repairs on major highways in Texas, but counties are responsible for rural roads. All of the structurally deficient bridges in East Texas are on rural roads.

"We're given the task of keeping the city or county informed as to the condition of their bridges but ultimately it's their responsibility to figure out how to make that replacement if one is warranted," said Krantz.

Bridges cost approximately $80,000 to $100,000 to replace. "Given the kind of budget problems they've had it's difficult to have the money available. They probably haven't been able to improve on that much," said Bala.

But inspectors say if a bridge is unsafe to drive on, it'll be closed.

To find out where structurally deficient bridges are in your area, visit the National Bridge Inventory Database and search for Texas bridges.

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