Broward News

Florida Bridges Are Among the Strongest in U.S., According to Study That Says All Other Bridges Are Terrible

A recent study on bridges by the Associated Press found that 7,795 of the nation's bridges have been designated both "structurally deficient" and "fracture critical," meaning that almost 8,000 U.S. bridges are under an increased risk of collapsing.

But the same study says Florida's bridges remain among the sturdiest in the nation.

So keep flinging them "Floriduh" jokes at us while your bridges collapse and your cars end up in a frozen lake and/or river, America!

According to the study, there are 65,605 "structurally deficient" highway bridges and 20,808 "fracture critical" bridges across the country.

But, the AP says, only a handful of those are in Florida.

The Florida Department of Transportation said that of the 6,661 bridges it maintains and another 2,496 bridges it inspected last year that are owned by local jurisdictions, 17 have structural deficiencies and two are fracture critical. One is a small drawbridge owned by Miami-Dade County that crosses the Miami River. The other, Broad Causeway Drawbridge, is owned by the city of Miami. Combined they have a daily traffic average of more than 25,000. But FDOT says structural deficiencies in both spans are being addressed.

Basically, the Florida Department of Transportation is on top of taking care of the state's many bridges. Namely in the form of funding.

Florida currently has $265 million in federal funding for bridge repair and replacement, according to the FDOT. There's also an additional $154 million in state funding set aside.

Moreover, the FDOT is vigilant in making sure the right funding goes to the right bridge or highway.

For example, the department was able to get Palm Beach County's Flagler Memorial $94 million in funding for a replacement project set for completion in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Philip D. Beall Sr. Bridge, which crosses Pensacola Bay and is named the most-traveled bridge currently on Florida's structurally deficient list, is slated for replacement in 2017.

Among the other reasons our bridges and highways are in tip-top shape: the weather.

Bridges and highways in other parts of the nation have to suffer through cold blasts and icy conditions -- things that can crack and weaken and mess up a bridge. Florida, meanwhile, basks in the sun for most of the year, and a lot of the bridges have been built to withstand tropical weather and storms.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph