|Source||U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration|
|File Size||4.1 GB (DBF), 5.3 GB (CSV), 10 GB (Access)|
|Dates Covered||As of 2013 (2004-2012 included with the download, contact NICAR for 1994-2003)|
|Buy this database||Click here to purchase and download this database|
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration National Bridge Inventory database lists structural evaluations and codes for all bridges in the U.S. For the most recent year, 2013, the data includes only highway bridges*. In previous years, it includes bridges on highways, railroads, pedestrian-bicycle bridges, overpasses and those designated as historically significant. In each data file, the records represent the most recent inspection for each bridge (which could be several years ago, or could be the current year).
The data include fields showing the year the bridge was built, how many lanes it has and several key fields that can be used for an overall indication of a bridge's quality. There is also a field that indicates the feature intersected, for example if the bridge goes over a body of water or if it intersects with another highway or roadway.
*We are in the process of trying to obtain records for all bridges. Please see the Readme.txt for more information.
Record layouts and samples of this database
|Data sample (bridges100.xls)||245.8 KB|
|Schema (bridges.pdf)||250.9 KB|
|Bridge13 - Readme.txt (readme_1.txt)||19.8 KB|
|Record layout (reclay_1.xls)||56.5 KB|
KOMU's "computer-assisted investigation revealed that mid-Missouri's bridges are deteriorating and placing drivers into possibly dangerous situations every day... bridges dropping large pieces of concrete into traffic lanes on Interstate 70 ... the state had no plans to fix this problem anytime within the next five years... one in three bridges in mid-Missouri is structurally deficient.... it would take 49 years to fix the problems that current bridges have with current funding even though transportation officials say that an average bridge has a lifespan of 50 years...."
Bridges on the brink
The Post-Bulletin examines an analysis which shows that Minnesota's deteriorating bridges aren't being repaired and replaced fast enough, forcing some counties to restrict or close bridges while they wait for money needed to repair. It would take $184 million to bring deficient bridges up to the highest standards. (November 12, 1994)
Mike Klahr was supposed to inspect the most dangerous bridges in middle Tennessee. But during WSMV-TV's surveillance, this Department of Transportation employee never went near a bridge. Instead, he ran a private painting business on state time, watered his lawn on state time, and often worked as little as one hour a day. One in four bridges is structurally deficient, and 29 bridges are so dangerous that people shouldn't be driving over them - yet they are open to the public.
County's Aging Bridges at the Breaking Point
One third of Ventura county's bridges were built before 1965 and 28 of them have been designated as "structurally deficient." But the county is still waiting for the funds to fix or replace them. California's winter floods in 2005 washed away one bridge and left others even more weakened. Dodge examines the Federal Highway Administration's Inventory and discusses funding problems as well as the potentially fatal consequences of continuing neglect.
57 Bridges in area rate 'deficient'
"An examination of roadway bridge ratings revealed 'Nearly 60 heavily traveled bridges in the Philadelphia region are in disrepair and rated as bad as, or worse than, the condition of the Minnesota bridge that collapsed Aug. 1, according to state and federal data.'"
"There are 107 structurally deficient bridges in the state of Arizona, with inspection reports showing the need for significant repairs."