Bridges All Fall Down?


Today is the first anniversary of the collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. The disaster killed 13 and injured 145 people. Today also happens to be the day when my colleagues at the Reason Foundation issue their 17th annual report on performance of state highway systems. The study calculates the effectiveness and performance of each state in 12 different categories, including traffic fatalities, congestion, pavement condition, bridge condition, highway maintenance costs, and administrative costs. It just might give you a clue as to how likely you are to inadvertently end up in a river near you.

The winner: North Dakota. The loser: New Jersey.

My own state of Virginia comes in at 16th. "Virginia ranked 16th in overall performance and cost-effectiveness. In last year's rankings, Virginia ranked 18th overall. Virginia is 22nd in urban interstate congestion, with 42.63 percent congested. The state tied for 1st in rural interstate condition and 28th in urban interstate condition. Virginia ranks 22nd in deficient bridges—23.10 percent of the state's bridges are deemed structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Virginia is 16th in the nation in fatality rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled."

Check out how low your own state ranks in the highway circles of hell here. A Google map of the state rankings is here. For the full Reason Foundation study go here.