Since AGG1 is taking place in Baltimore this year, it’s a good time to mention that an incident occurred recently in Maryland that ought to serve as a wake-up call to all of Congress to finalize a bill for the repair and replacement of our roads and bridges.
A piece of concrete fell from the I-495/I-95 (Capital Beltway) bridge in Morningside, Md., onto a car driving below it. It’s a miracle no one was injured or killed.
Working to ensure motorist safety and alleviate concerns regarding the structural integrity of Maryland bridges, Acting Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn ordered the State Highway Administration (SHA) and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) to immediately inspect all state-owned bridges of similar age and condition.
The statewide directive applies to 27 state-owned bridges – all built prior to 1969, have traffic underneath and are in similar condition to the Capital Beltway bridge.
“Motorists should not have to think twice about driving across or under one of our bridges,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Rahn. “These targeted statewide inspections will help us immediately identify any bridges in need of repair, with the goal of preventing what happened from occurring again. I want to extend my sincere apologies to the driver involved in [the] incident. I am grateful she was not injured.”
Approximately 3 percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient, which means they are safe for travel but are in need of rehabilitation or replacement, according to MDTA.
Maryland has an aggressive inspection program that has resulted in one of the lowest number of structurally deficient bridges in the country.
Structurally deficient bridges are inspected every year, as opposed to every two years for all other bridges. Structurally deficient is a term established by the Federal Highway Administration and includes bridges in which the deck, superstructure or substructure have been rated in poor condition.
The bridge deck carrying Capital Beltway over Suitland Road is rated structurally deficient and the entire structure is under design for replacement.
Hey Congress, what are you waiting for? The first person to be killed?