MILWAUKEE COUNTY — Nearly a thousand bridges in Wisconsin are classified as structurally deficient. Some of the worst are in Milwaukee County, but the newly passed federal infrastructure bill could change that.
There are more than 14,000 bridges in the state, and seven percent are classified as structurally deficient according to a report from the Federal Highway Administration. That means at least one key element is in poor or worse condition.
“We’ve improved over a thousand miles of roads and local roads across the state, and hundreds of bridges, but we have a long way to go,” said Craig Thompson, Wisconsin's Transportation Secretary.
Half of the top bad bridges in Wisconsin are in Milwaukee County. The four that are considered structurally deficient include the bridges along I-43 over Glendale and Hampton avenues, the bridge on I-41 over Mill Road and the bridge on Loomis Road over I-43. A combined 333,300 vehicles cross those bridges every day.
Roads and bridges are so bad in Wisconsin they are actually costing drivers money. A White House report estimates it costs drivers in Wisconsin about $550 a year to drive on roads in need of repair.
Fixing those up could make a difference, not just for your car, but also your wallet.
“If our manufacturers, if our agriculture producers, timber producers have higher transportation costs because they can’t fit over a bridge or a bridge that is weight restricted, and they have to change their routes to go out. It adds to their bottom line, which ultimately adds to the higher costs of goods,” said Thompson.
The FHA report says Wisconsin has identified more than 1,800 bridges that need repairs, at a cost of $1.6 billion. Under the new federal infrastructure bill, Wisconsin is getting $225 million for bridge work.
TMJ4 News asked Gov. Tony Evers on Monday where people can expect the money to be spent right away.
“We will create a project plan that will include our mayors and county executives, we need to have input on that,” said Gov. Evers.
“We are looking at hundreds of bridges that we look at improving over these next couple of years,” said Thompson.