Report: More than 2,200 Illinois bridges "structurally deficient"

March 22, 2011

A report out Tuesday shows one out of every 12 bridges in Illinois is deteriorating.

The study by Transportation for America, a transportation advocacy coalition, says 2,239 of the state's 26,337 bridges - about 8.5 percent - are "structurally deficient." That means engineers have found a major defect in a bridge's deck or support structure, according to the report.

The report urges Illinois to make repairs to its existing transportation infrastructure before spending money on new projects, said Peter Skosey, Vice President of the Metropolitan Planning Council, which is part of the coalition.

But Skosey is careful to point out that a bridge collapse, like the one in Minneapolis in 2007 that killed 13 people, is not imminent.

"We are certainly not raising that type of an alarm - that our bridges are going to collapse," Skosey said. "But ... we shouldn't have to wait for a crisis such as that to act. It's important that we get in front of those types of crises and make sure our bridges are in good repair throughout."

The report says Illinois' two most-traveled structurally deficient bridges are on I-290. The next three are on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive.

Transportation for America is pushing for more federal funding to make infrastructure repairs.