The president is set to propose heavy spending on infrastructure during his state of the union address.
The panhandle could use some of the $1.5 trillion expected to be proposed.
A report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association shows more than 54,000 bridges in America are considered “structurally deficient.”
Some of those are right here in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle.
Amarillo has four of the top 25 structurally deficient bridges in the state, mostly in east Amarillo on I-40.
They include the bridges at Arthur, Ross, Whitaker, and Lakeside Drive.
Those aren’t the only bridges on I-40 currently under construction.
Structurally deficient bridges are something TxDOT identified years ago in need of being replaced. Particularly on I-40.
The rankings are based on the amount of travel each bridge handles on a daily basis.
The bridge on I-40 at Ross handles more than 37,000 crossings daily.
Overall, Texas is in pretty good shape. Only about 1.5% of the state’s 53,000 bridges are considered structurally deficient.
Because of I-40, the area in east Amarillo is one of the most traveled in Texas.
TxDOT Spokesperson Sonja Gross said it is not only the number of crossings we see but the kind of traffic that is taking its toll.
“We get a lot of truck traffic through Amarillo. They’re carrying heavy loads of a wide variety of things to support the cattle industry, the oil industry, you name it. It comes through Amarillo to get to wherever it’s going next,” said Gross.
Gross also said the kind of traffic we are getting is much different than the kind we saw when the interstate bridges were built starting in 1964.
The good news from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association report is that Texas ranks last (51st) in the report when it comes to the number of structurally deficient bridges.
There is good news-bad news when it comes to the construction on I-40.
Construction on the bridges at Ross and Arthur is expected to be completed in February of next year.
The bad news is construction on the Whitaker and Lakeside bridges will begin soon.
Texas by far has more bridges than any other state with nearly 54,000. Ohio has the second most with a little more than 27,000.