Report classifies 10% of Montana’s bridges ‘structurally deficient’

A bridge on highway 40 over the Whitefish River.jpg

A recent report by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association shows problems with some of Montana’s bridges.

The study used Federal Highway Administration data to take a state-by-state look. It ranked Montana in 30th place for the states with the most "structurally deficient" bridges.

The report notes that, according to the Federal Highway Administration, a bridge is classified as structurally deficient if the condition rating for the deck, superstructure, substructure or culvert and retaining walls receive a four or below, on a rating scale of zero to nine.

Out of more than 5,000 bridges in the state, 515 -- 9.7 percent -- are classified as structurally deficient.

The Flathead Valley has one of the state's top 10 most traveled deficient bridges in Montana on Highway 40 over the Whitefish River. It has an estimated 11,830 daily crossings.

“In some cases it's a little awkward, especially during the wintertime, because you go over these, and then you're concerned about the ice and it crumbling and falling apart,” said CJ McKee, a Whitefish resident.

“I've seen some places where nothing's been done at all for years,” he added.

The state has identified needed repairs on 744 bridges, which they estimate will cost $301.1 million.

Among the 10 worst, most traveled bridges in the state, Missoula has five, Granite County has one.

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