Jul 29, 2014

How Safe Are Salem's Bridges?

Salem Patch takes a look at the condition of the City's bridges.

Perhaps you're an avid walker. Maybe you travel over the same bridge each day on your way to work.

Whatever your reason for traversing Witch City bridges, we thought you'd like to know just how safe these structures are.

Last month, Transportation for America (T4A) released a study on the state of our bridges. According to the organization, 69,223 bridges in the country — that's 11.5 percent of all bridges — are categorized as structurally deficient.

Though billions of dollars have gone toward upkeep and repair of bridges, there is still plenty of work to be done to bring non-compliant structures in line with safety regulations, T4A said.

Pennsylvania ranked number one in a country-wide state lineup for its high percentage of deficient bridges (26.5 percent). Rhode Island's percentage of deficient bridge's topped New England states with a 21.6 percent deficiency rate (the fourth worst in the country).

So how did Massachusetts stack up? The Commonwealth's deficiency percentage clocked in at 11 percent — 25th in the country. T4A classified 561 of our state's 5,102 bridges as deficient.

Within New England, the only state with a proportion of deficient structures smaller than Massachusetts was Connecticut, coming in at 9.2 percent.

Are you wondering how the study impacts you?

Here's a breakdown on three Salem bridges that aren't up to par:

BridgeDate of ConstructionVehicles/DayLast InspectionJefferson Avenue crossing Parallel Street 1920 14,600 January 2010 Route 114 (North Street) crossing North River 1952 51,700 March 2009 Kernwood Avenue crossing Danvers River 1907 11,000 September 2008

Be sure to visit T4A's interactive map for more on North Shore bridges, and check out Contributor William Legault's photos of the Route 114 bridge.

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