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U.S. Bridge Conditions Easy to Find with New Mapping Tool

The U.S. National Bridge Inventory maps the location and other details of all bridges in the nation 100 years old or older. The interactive map offers data around the age of the bridge, its condition and daily traffic.

The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.
The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.
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The iconic Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is considered “the most troubled” bridge in the country, according to a new trove of bridge condition data compiled by the GIS and mapping technology company Esri.

The company recently released the U.S. National Bridge Inventory, an interactive mapping tool that shows the conditions of hundreds of old bridges around the nation, which are 100 years old or older.

“This bridge map project was designed for anyone who’s interested in infrastructure near them, especially bridges that may be more vulnerable and in need of repair or retrofit,” said an Esri spokesperson.

The bridge condition data comes from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Bridges are ranked as good, fair or poor. Some 68.3 percent of the 1,430 old bridges included in the map are ranked as fair, with 16.7 percent of them receiving a good rating, and 15 percent receiving a poor rating. The average age among the bridges is 116.2 years, with a daily traffic count of more than 28.3 million vehicles.

The data and mapping tool comes as states and regions plan infrastructure upgrades as part of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, one of the most consequential pieces of legislation to address infrastructure in decades.

“With the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act approving more than $27 billion in bridge funding, this app and video help visualize regions and specific locations that could benefit from this investment,” said the spokesperson.

And of course, the Esri map is full of facts. The oldest functioning bridge in the United States is Pennsylvania's Pennypack Creek Bridge — built in 1697 — which serves an average of 12,200 vehicles a day. And the aforementioned Brooklyn Bridge, an engineering marvel when it was built in 1883, still accommodates 116,071 crossings a day in the form of vehicles, pedestrians and bikes.

"Esri envisions everyone from state, local, regional and tribal governments to families heading out on summer road trips as a potential audience for this information,” said the spokesperson.

Editor's note: The attribution of quotes in this article has been adjusted. Government Technology is a sister site to Governing. Both are divisions of e.Republic.
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