Majority of New York City's bridges are functionally obsolete


Aging bridges owned by local governments in NY are in need of costly repairs, according to a new report.

The report looked at bridges throughout the state, and found that 86 bridges in New York City are structurally deficient, defined as safe to drive on but either having compromised load-bearing elements or are prone to flooding.

While New York City led the state in the number of bridges needing repairs, Seneca (34.6 percent), Cayuga (27.6 percent), and Hamilton (23.8 percent) had the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges. Local bridges in New York City alone need about $20.4 billion in repairs. DiNapoli noted that as of January, the state Department of Transportation has awarded more than $200 million for 132 local bridge and culvert projects. "These structures are aging and the cost of repairs will likely increase over time".

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He said a new bridge will replace one on Glen Creek Road that washed out earlier this summer, while a new deck is being added to one on Garnet Lake Road and one on Harvey Road is being rehabilitated.

Statewide, 1,130 of 8,834 locally-owned bridges, or 12.8 percent, are structurally deficient.

Locally, Schenectady County has only two bridges out of 21 it owns listed as deficient - tied for the fewest among all counties in the state.

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Still, the number of bridges in the category has dropped from 17 percent since 2002, the report said.

"Many local governments understand the importance of long-term planning for their infrastructure needs but they will need help", said DiNapoli.

DiNapoli said municipalities face financial challenges to fund bridge repairs because they are generally responsible for the upkeep, but can get state and federal aid.

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The analysis includes only "local" bridges and not those that take roads defined as highways over water, railways or other roads.