A report issued by the Federal Highway Administration – a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Transportation – has some alarming results – thousands of bridges in Texas have been deemed inadequate. According to the report, 2,051 bridges in the most populous counties of North Texas were found to be either functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. The report comes as the result of the administration's inventory of more than 50,000 bridges throughout the state.
In response to the report, officials from the Texas Department of Transportation were quick to comment that terms such as "functionally obsolete" and "structurally deficient" do not necessarily mean that these bridges are unsafe. Bridges are classified as such for the following reasons:
- Functionally obsolete – a bridge is being utilized at a higher capacity than the capacity for which it was originally designed. For example, a bridge may be too narrow or not high enough based on today's standards and specifications.
- Structurally deficient – structural problems within the bridge exist.
News of Texas' problems with infrastructure arrives with another analysis of the federal National Bridge Inventory conducted by the Associated Press. Of the 607,380 bridges in the federal inventory, 65,605 were classified as structurally deficient and 20,808 as fracture critical.
These statistics, while not entirely shocking news, are still cause for concern. Bridges in disrepair can potentially become big problems as time goes on, especially when cities, states, and the national economy have precious few resources to devote to repairing or replacing vulnerable structures. According to the Associated Press, aging bridges are a multi-billion dollar problem.
What does this mean for the everyday American?
While a problem that is more or less out of our individual control, these reports serve to highlight the fact that our nation's infrastructure – which, in addition to bridges, includes roads and highways – is far from perfect. In fact, roadway defects – whether caused by negligence in design, manufacturing, or maintenance or by simple wear and tear – are a common cause of car accidents and personal injury. When these defects contribute to truck accidents involving massive commercial vehicles, the results can be devastating.
There is much to say about the complexity of handling claims involving roadway defects and unsafe roadway conditions, especially because these types of issues often involve government agencies. The general point, however, is that auto accidents can – and are – caused by a number of different factors. When these factors were preventable and / or when they were caused by negligence, injured victims and families will have a fighting chance for recovering their damages.
To learn more about traffic accidents, defective roadway conditions, and how a Houston car accident lawyer from The Daspit Law Firm can help, please complete a free case evaluation form or call (713) 364-0915.