CINCINNATI — According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, a bridge that collapsed in Pittsburgh Friday morning was listed in poor condition. That means that “deterioration of primary structural elements has advanced.”
In Ohio, more than 2,000 bridges are considered in poor condition, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. Those bridges are rated 4 or below by the National Bridge Inventory, which rates bridges on a scale of 0 to 9. The National Bridge Investory says a 0 is failed condition while 9 is excellent condition.
Of the bridges in poor condition, 145 are in southwest Ohio. In Hamilton County, the Western Hills Viaduct is one of them.
The City of Cincinnati has said the bridge is “reaching the end of its useful life.” A replacement project is underway and will be complete in 2028. In the meantime, the city does routine maintenance and inspection of the bridge. And, has installed netting to catch chipping and falling concrete.
“It’s a tragedy what happened in Pittsburgh. It’s beyond belief,” said Mark Policinski, CEO of OKI Regional Council of Government.
He said the collapse of the bridge underscores the need for funding provided by the federal infrastructure bill.
“When you ignored this problem for decade after decade, unfortunately tragedies like this can happen. So that’s why it’s important that we can get from Washington a clear set of guidelines how to get this money into regions like OKI’s region,” he said. “There are a lot of bridges in the state of Ohio and across this county that are in need of repair.”
According to the Federal Highway Administration, 5% of bridges in Ohio are in poor condition. In Kentucky, 7% of bridges are in poor condition.
“We take pride in safety so bridge inspections are very important to us.,” said Nancy Wood, spokesperson for Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 6. “We have a crew here at District 6 and that’s their total job.”
Wood said most bridges are inspected biannually, which is in line with federal guidelines. However, some bridges are inspected more frequently.
“Depending on what type of bridge it is, if we see things were want to keep an eye on we’ll do more routine inspections,” Wood said.
Data on the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet website shows major bridges spanning the Ohio, including the Roebling, Taylor Southgate, Daniel Carter Beard, Clay Wade Bailey and Brent Spence bridges are all in fair condition.