Majority of New York City's bridges are functionally obsolete

Majority of New York City's bridges are functionally obsolete

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report Tuesday showing that 12.8% of New York's 17,000 bridges owned by local governments are considered structurally deficient.

While New York has the largest number of ailing bridges, it's far from the area with the highest concentration.

According to the Comptroller's office, local governments, mostly counties, own about 51 percent of the 17,462 bridges in the state, carrying average daily traffic of almost 33.4 million vehicles.

In Jefferson County, the state says 46 bridges out of 317 are structurally deficient.

The overall percentage of structurally deficient local bridges declined from 16.7 percent to 12.8 percent from 2002 to 2016, while the state's percentage was relatively flat at around 9 percent.

DiNapoli's report also found that 76 percent of the city's spans fail to meet design standards for the traffic on them, he said. About 22 percent of Oswego County bridges are considered deficient, along with approximately 23 percent of those in Lewis County.

But, as the report highlights, each region will need millions of dollars to make necessary bridge repairs.

It would cost just $7 billion more to fix every other local bdige in the state.

Federal assistance is available as well but, as Mr. DiNapoli pointed out, could put state aid programs in limbo if the federal government decides to revamp the way it distributes highway and infrastructure funding to states.

Greene County is in the process of undertaking several bridge projects including the South Road Bridge over Glen Brook in Cairo and the Hervey Street Bridge over Thorpe Creek in Durham.

"We have been pretty good over the past four or five years investing local money in bridge repairs", said Stuyvesant Town Supervisor Ronald Knott, chairman of the Board of Supervisors' Public Works Committee.

With a mix of adequate state and federal assistance, Mr. Lawrence said the county can take on up to 10 bridge and culvert rehabilitation projects per year.

"Another ten million would probably be very helpful", he added.

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