Michigan's infrastructure crisis: Bridges are on the brink - WNEM TV 5

Michigan's infrastructure crisis: Bridges are on the brink of failure

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Chances are you cross at least one bridge every day and you likely don't think much about it.

But maybe you should.

Because statistics have found one of every four bridges in our state is dangerously close to its breaking point.

In Genesee County, the statistics are even more staggering.

"What we're seeing are the symptoms of a decaying infrastructure," said John Daly, the Genesee County Road Commission manager.

One of every two bridges is structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, meaning they are no longer fit for the job.

"I've had concrete fall off bridges. I have bridges that were concrete bridges that actually had holes in them," explained Daly.

In fact, a metal plate on Linden Road over the Flint River covers one of those holes.

"We still take chances of coming across it," said Flint resident Tami Copeland.

The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association analyzed data statewide.  Genesee County ranks second on the list with the number of bridges that are in dire need.  Just to the north, Saginaw County ranks seventh, with one in three bridges in need.

"We're going in the wrong direction right now. The numbers continue to escalate each year we do nothing," said Mike Nystrom with the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.

Local road commissions say the money is just not there and they hope this report is an eye-opener for each and every one of us who use the bridges, and for us to urge lawmakers to invest in the state's infrastructure

"What that really means is for right now, we're OK. But this is a warning call," said Daly.

Daly said if there's ever a question about a bridge not being safe, he will close it.

On Wednesday, the Michigan State House of Representatives will vote on a revenue package that would increase funding into Michigan roads and bridges by $500 million a year.

Daly says that could be a good start. But in order to get roads back in good condition, he said the estimates show it will take $1.3 billion on top of what is already allocated to infrastructure improvements.

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