Bridge experts discuss inexpensive fixes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bridge experts discuss inexpensive fixes

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Bridging the gap for roads and bridges is becoming more of a challenge across the United States.

A new report indicates more than 55,000 bridges around the nation are in bad shape, and 4,968 of those bridges are in Iowa.

The report from the American Road and Transportation Builder's Association says Iowa has 24,184 bridges, and 4,968 of them are 'structurally deficient.'

Keep in mind, this report doesn't mean Iowa bridges are unsafe.

The report simply means nearly 5,000 of the bridges need some work and updating.

The Buchanan County Engineer is doing just that with some inexpensive fixes.

Many Iowa drivers take safe roads and bridges for granted, but Buchanan County Engineer Brian Keierleber reminds drivers that many bridges are simply old and don't necessarily meet all of today's standards.

"You've got to put things in perspective. General Custer fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 after these bridges had been constructed, and they aren't meeting today's loads and today's needs," Brian said.

Brian said the amount of traffic a vehicle weight dramatically increased over the years, and it's affecting older bridges.

That's why he's relying on less expensive methods, which includes using donated material to rebuild dated bridges.

"We're doing a lot of new things, and we end up doing a lot of cutting edge research with our secondary road employees," Brian said.

It might look like any other bridge, but Brian says this is one of 27 in Buchanan County made of recycled railroad cars.

It makes it easier for taxpayers get where they need to be.

"And, I've got cars awaiting construction this summer for number 28. We're constantly looking for better ways of doing things."

According to that survey, more than $1.6 billion in federal funding was used in the last decade to improve Iowa bridges.

In that time, 1,915 new bridges have been built.

If you'd like to see whether a bridge is structurally deficient in your area, you can click here

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