State of Washington reports improved bridge conditions

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reported Monday from Olympia that a vast majority of bridges in the state, calculated by deck area, are in fair condition or better — an improvement over 2010’s analysis.

With over 49 million square feet total, including approximately 700,000 square feet more than half a decade ago, the WSDOT compared the measurement as representing an area roughly equivalent to a two-lane highway extending between Seattle and Spokane.

In "The Gray Notebook," its quarterly performance and accountability report, WSDOT reports that 92.1 percent of state-owned bridges are in fair or better condition, compared to 91.4 percent five years ago.

“This is good news because it shows our use of best management practices and innovative strategies are working,” Tom Baker, of the WSDOT Bridge and Structures office, said. “In fact, we’ve shown fairly consistent improvement in bridge conditions since 2010.”

Preservation strategies included painting and bridge deck overlays, reduced life cycle costs and extending the life of structures.

Highlights from the annual report on bridge preservation also revealed that of 3,288 state-owned bridges, 120 have weight restrictions in fiscal year 2015. This figure is a decrease from 137 weight-restricted bridges in fiscal year 2014.

WSDOT plans to commence construction on 44 bridge preservation projects through 2017.

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State of Washington Department of Transportation

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