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February 28, 2017

Some people are anxious about driving over bridges; more New Jerseyans may share their concerns, once they get a look at the current "National Bridge Inventory" from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

According to the report, 9 percent of the state's 6,730 bridges (609 all told) are classified as structurally deficient. This means one or more of the key elements, such as the deck, superstructure, or substructure, is considered to be in "poor" or worse condition. Some 1,684 bridges, or 25 percent, are classified as functionally obsolete. This also means they do not meet design standards in line with current practice. And newer bridges aren't necessarily better: Over the past 10 years, 471 bridges have been built in the state; 287 have undergone major reconstruction. And bridgework is an expensive proposition: The state estimates that needed repairs on 2,250 bridges will cost $7 billion.

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