New Report Gives Idaho’s Roads and Bridges Below Average Grade

Mar 14, 2012

BOISE, ID – Three years ago the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a D grade.  This year, a local branch of the organization says Idaho does slightly better than the U.S.

Think report card.  Idaho would get a C minus overall for its infrastructure.  Things like bridges, state highways, and public transit.  Idaho did worst for upkeep of bridges and highways – a D plus.  Seth Olsen is a Boise civil engineer.  He helped put this report together.

Seth Olsen:  "Bridges is one thing that is aging. Just like this bridge we’re standing on, you know. Bridges have a design life."

This is the Capitol Boulevard Memorial Bridge.  It was built in the 1930’s.  And Olsen says bridges like this one typically have a design life of 40 to 60 years.

Seth Olsen:  "On the state highway system within the next few years, more than fifty percent of the bridges will be more than fifty years old."

The Idaho Transportation Department declined to comment on this story.  But according to its latest accountability study, nearly three quarters of state bridges are in good shape.  ITD’s goal is to have 80 percent reach that condition.

Seth Olsen:  "We’re hopeful that this report card can be a tool for all of us that live in Idaho that we can really take action and say hey this is something I need to support."

In other words, that means getting more funds to fix Idaho’s bridges, roads, and other infrastructure.  . . .There are bright spots in the report which comes out today.  For wastewater, Idaho does okay, a B minus.

Copyright  2012 Boise State Public Radio