- The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has stopped work on a $25 million Interstate 5 bridge replacement project near Redding because surveyors have detected a 1.5-inch lateral shift in the arches supporting the new structure, according to the Record Searchlight.
- The bridge was 65% complete when construction work halted on Jan. 5. Surveyors also noted a 2-inch vertical settlement, though that movement was within Caltrans' projections. Agency officials are conducting a design review to determine if the bridge needs to be retrofitted in wake of the lateral movement and to ensure that the bridge will be able to safely support the weight of big trucks with heavy loads.
- Arch designs, according to Caltrans officials, are typically used on straight bridges, but the I-5 bridge is on a curve, which could change how its weight is distributed across the supports. Agency representatives said the shift would not affect the schedule and does not present a safety issue, but if left unaddressed, it could result in cracks or other conditions that could shorten the bridge's lifespan.
Many U.S. bridges are near or past the end of their useful life.
In its most recent analysis, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) reported that 23% of U.S. bridges are either functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. The American Society of Engineers ASCE gave the nation's bridges a C+ grade as part of the Society's regular "report card" ratings.
The known state of the nation's crumbling bridges likely contributed to the $75 billion Bridge Investment Act, introduced in the Senate earlier this month, winning the immediate support of engineering and transportation industry groups. The 10-year competitive grant program would focus on much-needed repairs and would come in addition to the national infrastructure program President Donald Trump is reportedly working on. The U.S. Department of Transportation has estimated that the country has a $123 billion bridge repair backlog, $17 billion of which represents the work necessary to upgrade rural and local bridges.
This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that funding had become available through a $250 million state-level bridge repair program called BRIDGE NY. The state said more than 125 bridges and culverts are either being repaired or replaced under the initiative.