The year was 1939. The President of the United States was Franklin Roosevelt. It was the year Hewlett-Packard was found as an electronics company, Sir David Frost, who just died, was born and the comic book character Batman was created by Bob Kane. It was also the year the Riverside Bridge was built in the area around Cypress Park and Elysian Park.
Now, 74 years later it's being replaced. The LA Times reports there are some 8000 bridges across the country that are in need of repair or replacement. And, the longer it takes to fix them the less money there is to do something about them. The problem is everything from dwindling local budgets to gridlock in Washington DC.
Given the report I called Judy Gish at CALTrans. Her response was to the point. Here it is:
"All Caltrans-maintained bridges are safe. We inspect our bridges constantly. Aging infrastructure is a nation-wide issue but we would never allow the public to drive on a bridge that wasn't structurally sound. Bridges are routinely inspected every two years, above and below water. No bridge in California has ever collapsed due to negligence. Caltrans spends about $450 million annually on bridge maintenance and preservation. A classification of "structurally deficient" does not mean that a bridge is unsafe, but is an indicator that the bridge requires maintenance such as correcting minor cracks or repainting."
The LA Times report, though, suggests there are bridges in a lot worse shape. They say there are 16 on a list of those in a high risk category.