Alabama Fares Well in Bridge Safety Study

We all remember the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, the disaster, and the inspections across the country that followed.

A study released on ranks bridge safety in each state.

Alabama fared relatively well.  15,484 bridges see traffic in the state.  Only 41 of those are overdue for inspection.

Transportation officials say the low percentage is something to be proud of.

The MSNBC report validates that Alabama has one of the best bridge inspection programs in the country," explained Tony Harris, Spokesman for the Alabama Department of Transportation.

However, report also names 1,732 bridges in Alabama "structurally deficient." Harris says the term--a buzzword of sorts--is misunderstood.

"That's a Federal classification that doesn't speak to bridge safety but speaks to the age [and] the bridge's eligibility for federal replacement dollars," he explained.

With a strong safety rating, transportation officials ask the public not to worry when on the state's roads.

"Our bridges are safe.  If we didn't feel like they were safe, we would not allow traffic to remain," Harris said.

NOTE: Harris tells WSFA 12 News all 41 of the bridges overdue for inspection belong to various cities and counties in Alabama and are not inspected by ALDOT.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke