Msnbc.com has reviewed the newly released records from the National Bridge Inventory and issued a two-part report on the state of America's bridges. The findings uncover the wide variation of standards among states and reveal inconsistencies and bad inspection schedules as well as who is accountable for maintaining and improving America's bridges. The special investigative report from Bill Dedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at msnbc.com, takes a first look at inspection records through 2006 and is available at http://bridges.msnbc.com
The key findings from msnbc.com's report on America's bridges reveal the following:
-- Late inspections of bridges put travelers at risk. At least 17,000 spans did not get a two-year checkup. -- Several states fell behind on bridge inspections. Msnbc.com analyzed and ranked the states on timeliness of safety checks. -- Despite a slight improvement, one in four bridges is deficient or obsolete. A map of where the bad bridges are located, state by state is available online.
The Bridge Tracker, an online interactive map, shows the condition and inspection dates for more than 100,000 bridges with traffic of at least 10,000 vehicles a day. The map starts at the Golden Gate Bridge, which is among those late for inspection. Consumers concerned about their travel can use the interactive map to check the status of the bridges they have to cross to reach their destinations.
In addition to the online map of heavily traveled bridges, msnbc.com is making available state-by-state files of all bridges in the nation, including summaries of their condition and inspection information, to aid reporting by other journalists. Those files are posted at http://powerreporting.com/files/msnbc.
Please note: If any of the information in these files is used, please credit: "Msnbc.com analysis of National Bridge Inventory through 2006, as reported by states in April 2007." Also, in text or online, please provide a link to the articles and online map: http://bridges.msnbc.com
The two-part series, now available online at http://bridges.msnbc.com, also addresses how Federal authorities have allowed states to delay the inspection of bridges in poor condition.