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ASCE: Infrastructure Slides Toward Failing Grade, Roads Top Concern in Southeast

Thu October 16, 2003 - Southeast Edition
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The condition of our nation’s roads, bridges, drinking water systems and other public works have shown little improvement since they were graded an overall D+ in 2001, with some areas sliding toward failing grades, concluded the "2003 Progress Report for America’s Infrastructure" released recently by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Below is ASCE’s infrastructure for the Southeast, state by state:

Alabama

Top Three Infrastructure Concerns

o Roads

o Schools

o Bridges

Key Infrastructure Facts

o Federal funding for Alabama’s road and bridge system under TEA-21 was approximately $561 million in fiscal year 2002.

o 32 percent of Alabama’s major roads are in mediocre or fair condition.

o 31 percent of Alabama’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

o 29 percent of Alabama’s urban freeways are congested.

o Vehicle travel on Alabama’s highways increased by 38 percent from 1989 to 1999. Alabama’s population grew by 8 percent during that time.

o Driving on roads in need of repair costs Alabama’s motorists $313 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs — $91 per motorist.

o 23 percent of municipal solid waste is recycled in Alabama.

o 59 percent of Alabama’s schools have at least one inadequate building feature.

o 63 percent of Alabama’s schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition.

o Alabama’s drinking water infrastructure need is $1.08 billion over the next 20 years.

o Alabama’s wastewater infrastructure need is $1.46 billion.

o It should be noted that Alabama is one of only two states without a dam safety program.

Field Notes From Civil Engineers in the State

o A recently built road had to be closed, modified and reopened after having already been open to traffc due to the use of a shoddy contractor. — from Huntsville, AL

o More than $200 million was spent to replace 1,100 mi. of storm sewer pipe, most originally put in between 1950 and 1980 with a 50-year lifetime. It is starting to break. — from Huntsville, AL

From the Headlines

Roads and Bridges

o They call it Death Valley, a treacherous 15-mi. stretch of I-20 between Birmingham and Atlanta where serious crashes and deaths have occurred with regularity for years.

The antiquated four-lane stretch of freeway not far from the Birmingham airport has a multitude of engineering problems. Its aging and rutted concrete surface is like ice, especially in the rain. Hilly terrain and a narrow, unprotected median contribute to the danger. Incorporate high speed and heavy traffic and it’s easy to see why six people have already died there in 2003.

The Alabama Department of Transportation says it has projects pending to widen the freeway to six lanes, replace the concrete with asphalt, and provide barrier walls to prevent crossover crashes, but progress is proceeding at a glacial pace due to a lack of funding. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/15/03)

Florida

Top Three Infrastructure Concerns

o Roads

o Drinking Water

o Mass Transit/Schools

Key Infrastructure Facts

o Roadway conditions are a factor in an estimated 30 percent of traffic fatalities. There were 2,918 traffic deaths in 1999 in Florida.

o Federal funding for Florida’s road and bridge system under TEA-21 is approximately $1.3 billion in fiscal 2002.

o 20 percent of Florida’s major roads are in poor, mediocre or fair condition.

o 19 percent of Florida’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

o 35 percent of Florida’s urban freeways are congested.

o Vehicle travel on Florida’s highways increased by 37 percent from 1991 to 2001. Florida’s population grew by 27 percent between 1990 and 2001.

o Driving on roads in need of repair costs Florida’s motorists $662 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs — $53 per motorist.

o 28 percent of municipal solid waste is recycled in Florida.

o 57 percent of Florida’s schools have at least one inadequate building feature.

o 80 percent of Florida’s schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition.

o Florida’s drinking water infrastructure need is $3.7 billion over the next 20 years.

o Florida’s wastewater infrastructure need is $6.3 billion.

o There are eight state-determined deficient dams in Florida.

o The rehabilitation cost for Florida’s most critical dams is estimated at $9.5 million.

Field Notes From Civil Engineers in the State

o Funding allocation is often directed by short-term politicians that lack long-term vision. These individuals could care less what happens 20 to 25 years into the future. — from Miami, FL.

o If you don’t own a car and have a driver’s license, you stay home. — from Okeechobee, FL.

o In 2002, Orange County Public Schools passed a half-cent sales tax to fund new construction. In October 2003, residents of Orange County will vote on another half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements (all modes). — from Orlando, FL.

o Voters approved a 20-year, half-cent sales tax to be dedicated to infrastructure improvements over next ten years. Into the third year, significant improvements are completed or initiated. — from Jacksonville, FL.

o We need a President who will issue a challenge to the nation, much like Kennedy did with the space program, to become fossil fuel independent in 10 years.

Government seed money and subsequent private initiatives could create a new "tech energy" boom. The time is now. — Miami, FL.

From the Headlines

Schools

o Fifteen years ago, Miami-Dade County Schools promised to deliver massive renovations to the district’s aging schools with the passage of a $980-million bond referendum.

Miami-Dade Public Schools, the fourth largest system in the nation, squandered tens of millions of dollars on a mangled construction program, delayed crucial projects by months or even years and trapped children in schools that are not only crowded, but obsolete, poorly maintained and in some cases downright unsafe. (Miami Herald, 2/9/03)

o On the Glades Middle School campus, there are 10 portable classrooms wedged between a concrete building and a basketball court. The school district tore down four classrooms to make room for a new counselors’ suite and expanded the principal’s office.

Early discussions about a 12 classroom addition were scrapped. Glades Middle got six, but with the loss of four classrooms, the school gained little space. (Miami Herald, 2/10/03)

o The Miami-Dade school system has been caught flat-footed by massive residential construction in downtown Kendall. A fair guess is that downtown Kendall will have at least 25,000 to 30,000 residents in a decade.

The school system estimates 600 kids, or only 2 percent of the overall population, will be entering the public school system. The closest elementary school in South Miami, Ludlam Elementary, already has 585 students accounting for 121 percent of its assigned capacity.

Downtown Kendall growth will most assuredly also create huge pressures on Pinecrest Elementary (926 students, 110 percent), and Kenwood K through 8 (997 students, 104 percent). (Miami Herald, 7/13/03)

o North Miami’s public school problems are part of the growing pains of a city that has struggled to deal with burgeoning population.

In 1990, the city had 8,248 kids enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade in both private and public schools according to census data. A decade later, it had 14,467. Yet no school has been built since Natural Bridge Elementary opened in 1957. Only one school has helped ease congestion: Linda Luetin Elementary, which opened in 1998, just outside the city. (Miami Herald, 7/15/03)

o Lake County high school students will see dramatic changes to the faces of all of their schools during the next two years under the district’s $126-million facilities overhaul. The projects are being done with the county’s cut of a one-cent sales tax extension passed in November 2001.

Ajax expects to finish work at all five schools in 2005. The money also is paying for the $11.8-million renovation of Mount Dora Middle School. (Orlando Sentinel, 7/21)

Drinking Water

Officials said chances of seriously damaging lakes, rivers and wetlands in the heart of Central Florida’s delicate environment — continue to draw closer. The threat comes from growing development, which pulls more fresh drinking water every year from underground resources. (Orlando Sentinel, 7/28/03)

Georgia

Top Three Infrastructure Concerns

o Roads

o Mass Transit

o Wastewater

Key Infrastructure Facts

o Roadway conditions are a factor in an estimated 30 percent of traffic fatalities. There were 1,508 traffic deaths in 1999 in Georgia.

o Federal funding for Georgia’s road and bridge system under TEA-21 is approximately $988 million in fiscal 2002.

o 23 percent of Georgia’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

o 19 percent of Georgia’s urban freeways are congested.

o Vehicle travel on Georgia’s highways increased by 48 percent from 1991 to 2001. Georgia’s population grew by 29 percent between 1990 and 2001.

o Driving on roads in need of repair costs Georgia motorists $72 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs — $12 per motorist.

o 37 percent of Georgia’s schools have at least one inadequate building feature.

o 48 percent of Georgia’s schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition.

o Georgia’s drinking water infrastructure need is $2.4 billion over the next 20 years.

o Georgia’s wastewater infrastructure need is $2.3 billion.

o There are 105 state-determined deficient dams in Georgia.

o The rehabilitation cost for Georgia’s most critical dams is estimated at $288.4 million.

Field Notes From Civil Engineers in the State

o Gwinnett County has added approximately 64,000 new citizens since the 2000 census. Budgeting to provide infrastructure to meet these needs with strictly local funding is difficult. — from Lawrenceville, GA.

o Our area currently has adequate water supply, but in the long term, we are headed for a crisis. Our local government does not seem to be addressing this issue. — from Lawrenceville, GA.

o The biggest problems facing the Atlanta community are based in civil engineering (combined sanitary and storm water sewer, shared water reserves, traffic, air pollution). — from Atlanta, GA.

o There is a problem with the "not in my backyard syndrome" (NIMBY) in addition to funding problems which delay action. — from Roswell, GA.

From the Headlines

Roads and Bridges

o "My routes to Atlanta now take at least one to one and a half hours when it used to take 45 minutes to go 26 miles," said Ken Gillespie of Lawrenceville. "The road hasn’t changed that much, but the condition certainly has. I was surprised at how deplorable the condition was, and it only reminded me of how many other roads have gone downhill as regards to maintenance in the past years." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/10/03)

Drinking Water

o As cities like Atlanta have boomed, the states have feuded over rights to shared bodies of water, such as the Chattahoochee River, the Apalachicola River, and Lake Lanier. Georgia, Florida and Alabama governors recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding setting guidelines for sharing these bodies of water. (The Weekly, 7/27/03)

Wastewater

o Atlanta’s plan for major sewer reconstruction was altered to include more sewer separation and to bring down costs.

Over the next four years, ratepayers will be responsible for $850 million to complete the build out of tunnels and to build separate sewer pipes for sewage and storm-water runoff in a small downtown core, an area where both types of polluted water currently run into the same pipes.

Under the plan, the relatively few combined sewer pipes in other parts of the city would be separated later, as part of a comprehensive storm-water management plan.

The city has no choice but to do something quickly to stop the constant spills of raw sewage into streams and rivers that happen during heavy rains. Atlanta is under a 2007 federal court deadline to correct that problem, and the current plan can be executed within that time frame. (The Atlanta JournalConstitution, 5/22/03)

Mississippi

Top Three Infrastructure Concerns

o Roads

o Bridges

o Drinking Water

Key Infrastructure Facts

o 31 percent of Mississippi’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

o 30 percent of Mississippi’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

o 23 percent of Mississippi’s urban freeways are congested.

o Vehicle travel on Mississippi’s highways increased by 45 percent from 1991 to 2001. Mississippi’s population grew by 11 percent between 1990 and 2001.

o Driving on roads in need of repair costs Mississippi motorists $559 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs — $300 per motorist.

o 38 percent of municipal solid waste is recycled in Mississippi.

o 50 percent of Mississippi’s schools have at least one inadequate building feature.

o 54 percent of Mississippi’s schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition.

o Mississippi’s drinking water infrastructure need is $1.36 billion over the next 20 years.

o Mississippi has $1.1 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs.

o There are 53 state-determined deficient dams in Mississippi.

o The rehabilitation cost for Mississippi’s most critical dams is estimated at $82.5 million.

Field Notes From Civil Engineers in the State

o As for the bridges and roads, we need more federal revenues brought to the states with a portion earmarked for the local government use. Wastewater could use better revolving loan and grant funds. — from Lucedale, MS.

o City and county are experiencing tremendous growth. Roads are being built and expanded, but not fast enough. — from Southaven, MS.

North Carolina

Top Three Infrastructure

Concerns

o Roads

o Schools

o Wastewater

Key Infrastructure Facts

o 33 percent of North Carolina’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

o 31 percent of North Carolina’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

o 40 percent of North Carolina’s urban freeways are congested.

o Vehicle travel on North Carolina’s highways increased by 41 percent from 1991 to 2001. North Carolina’s population grew by 23 percent between 1990 and 2001.

o Driving on roads in need of repair costs North Carolina’s motorists $1.4 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs — $259 per motorist.

o 26 percent of municipal solid waste is recycled in Alabama.

o 55 percent of North Carolina’s schools have at least one inadequate building feature.

o 68 percent of North Carolina’s schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition.

o North Carolina’s drinking water infrastructure need is $2.7 billion over the next 20 years.

o North Carolina’s wastewater infrastructure need is $4 billion.

o There are 53 state-detemmined deficient dams in North Carolina.

o The rehabilitation cost for North Carolina’s most critical dams is estimated at $394.8 million.

Field Notes From Civil Engineers in the State

o Availability of water is the primary need for growth. Neither overcrowded schools, nor bad roads have stopped growth as much as a lack of water has. — from Raleigh, NC.

o Millions of dollars will be spent on a new pro basketball arena although the taxpayers voted against it, while funding for schools is being cut. — from Charlotte, NC.

o During heavy rains, sanitary sewers overflow in several areas due to aged and deteriorating sewers. This causes high bacterial counts in streams and renders streamside parks and recreational areas hazardous for people. — from Greensboro, NC.

From the Headlines

o Charlotte has grown from the country’s 26th largest city in population in 2000 to the 21st largest in 2002. Charlotte also ranks 11th nationally in a recent survey of relocation experts who were asked the best places for high-tech companies to expand. Charlotte came out ahead of New York, Chicago and Washington. (The Charlotte Observer, 8/4/03)

o Based on one economist’s estimate, the area within 40 mi. of Charlotte could be doubled to 4 million by 2030. This is similar growth as if the entire city of Houston were plopped into Piedmont. Metro Charlotte will be as big as Atlanta is today.

Growth means boom times for builders. But it clogs roads, packs schools and strains water supplies already hurt by years of drought. It pressures tax rates and makes it harder to find political consensus. (The Charlotte Observer, 3/23/03)

Roads and Bridges

o Cornelius is borrowing approximately $5 million to make road and infrastructure improvements all over town, including the $2-million East Catawba Avenue project.

The East Catawba work has begun, and other high-priority jobs should start within months. Most roads on the project list are narrow, with crumbling pavement, no storm drains and no sidewalks. They clearly need improvements, but fixing roads could transform them from neighborhood streets to cut-through. (Charlotte Observer, 6/6/03)

o Of the more than 16,000 bridges in the state, 33 percent are substandard, according to AAA Carolinas Motor Club in Charlotte.

North Carolina replaced 134 bridges last year, but it still ranks 10th-worst in the nation for its percentage of substandard bridges. (The News and Observer, 6/22/03)

Schools

o The $1.5-million effort will upgrade parts of the York District high school that haven’t been renovated since it was built approximately 30 years ago.

Construction workers are replacing the school’s heating and cooling system and installing firewalls, sprinklers and new lights. They also are putting in a new security system, painting the walls and laying carpeting. (The Charlotte Observer, 7/16/03)

Wastewater

o Residents along Andover Road in southeast Charlotte hoped a storm water project that started in April 2002 would make their yards drier and their lives easier.

But more than a year into a job that was supposed to take less than half that time, they have dealt with raw sewage spilling into their back yards and basements, oil tanks and air conditioning units being destroyed, and an eight-foot geyser of storm water shooting out of the ground.

The project started as a way to relieve flooding in the neighborhood off Providence Road behind Cotswold Shopping Center.

Tim Richards, Charlotte’s interim storm water services manager, said the drainage pipe that ran through the neighborhood was installed more than 50 years ago when the first homes were built. The pipe had developed holes and cracks that let it fill with dirt during heavy rains. Houses along the drainage system were facing structural damage and even sinking.

The contractor, Blythe Construction, had installed a rectangular culvert through several of their yards without sealing the joints. At the same time, raw sewage spilled out of cracks in the wastewater system, pooling along Andover.

The sanitary sewage system that Blythe installed as part of the project didn’t pass tests and had to be rebuilt. Aging sewer pipes run along a path similar to the storm water system. Those pipes had holes and cracks that allowed rain to seep in, overwhelming the sewer system and causing six overflows. Since last August, more than 300,000 gal. of sewage have spilled in the 1400 block of Andover and on nearby Vernon Drive. (The Charlotte Observer, 7/30)

o What’s fouling North Carolina’s waterways? The question has gotten attention recently as the general assembly dodged a showdown over waste lagoons and took up a bill to control sedimentation. It came to a head during this spring’s heavy rain, when the department cited 400 lagoon operators for having too much waste in their pits.

The Division of Water Quality last year reported 2,047 spills from government or private waste-collection systems reaching surface waters, totaling 56.9 million gal. Because of heavy rains, the total is much higher this year — nearly 96 million gal. of waste so far.

In contrast, 32 lagoon ruptures reached surface waters last year, while there were additional 103 instances of misappropriation of waste on fields.

As for wastewater systems, Watkins said the state’s 275 municipalities that operate them are preparing for new regulations this summer that will tighten violations on sewer overflows. (The Associated Press, 7/7/03)

Dams

o North Carolina has more high-hazard dams than any other state. Hope Mills, which lies just outside Fayetteville, expects to spend approximately $5.9 million on repairs and has already spent $38,500 on emergency protection measures. (The Charlotte Observer, 7/8/03)

South Carolina

Top Three Infrastructure Concerns

o Roads

o Bridges

o Schools

Key Infrastructure Facts

o Federal funding for South Carolina’s road and bridge system under TEA-21 was approximately $461 million in fiscal year 2002.

o 26 percent of South Carolina’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

o 23 percent of South Carolina’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

o 32 percent of South Carolina’s urban freeways are congested.

o Vehicle travel on South Carolina’s highways increased by 35 percent from 1991 to 2001. South Carolina’s population grew by 17 percent between 1990 and 2001.

o Driving on roads in need of repair costs South Carolina’s motorists $501 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs — $178 per motorist.

o 31 percent of municipal solid waste is recycled in South Carolina.

o 52 percent of South Carolina’s schools have at least one inadequate building feature.

o 66 percent of South Carolina’s schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition.

o South Carolina must invest $1.7 billion over the next 20 years to repair the state’s existing sewer systems. An estimated $840 million is needed for treatment technologies.

o South Carolina needs to invest $820 million to upgrade the state’s drinking water facilities over the next 20 years.

o There are 153 high-hazard potential dams in South Carolina whose failure would likely cause a loss of human life.

o There are three state-determined deficient dams in South Carolina.

o The rehabilitation cost for South Carolina’s most critical dams is $75 million.

Field Notes From a Civil Engineer in the State

o We have some of the lowest gas prices in the United States. There is a need for politicians to increase the gas tax to pay for roads and bridges. — from Greenwood, SC.

Tennessee

Top Three Infrastructure Concerns

o Roads

o Bridges

o Schools

Key Infrastructure Facts

o Federal funding for Tennessee’s road and bridge system under TEA-21 was approximately $624 million in fiscal year 2002.

o 24 percent of Tennessee’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

o 24 percent of Tennessee’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

o 43 percent of Tennessee’s urban freeways are congested.

o Vehicle travel on Tennessee’s highways increased by 43 percent from 1991 to 2001. Tennessee’s population grew by 18 percent between 1990 and 2001.

o Driving on roads in need of repair costs Tennessee motorists $505 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs — $121 per motorist.

o 34 percent of Tennessee’s municipal solid waste is recycled.

o 56 percent of Tennessee’s schools have at least one inadequate building feature.

o 64 percent of Tennessee’s schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition.

o Tennessee must invest $1.3 billion over the next 20 years to upgrade its existing sewage treatment plants and Clean Water programs. The largest single investment ($350 million) is needed for new collector and interceptor sewers.

o The state must invest $1.4 billion over the next 20 years to repair its aging drinking water treatment and distribution systems.

o There are 33 state-determined deficient dams in Tennessee.

o The rehabilitation cost for Tennessee’s most critical dams is estimated at $23.5 million.

Field Notes From a Civil Engineer in the State

o The traffic in Nashville is worse than other cities where I have resided. A light rail system for the metro area extending out to surrounding counties could greatly reduce traffic congestion and pollution, if implemented correctly. — from Nashville, TN.

From the Headlines

o Rutherford County commissioners stepped up to the plate recently with the passage of a 29-cent tax increase. The move represents an increase of approximately 12 percent in the county’s property tax.

The revenue will increase school funds from $1.30 to $1.46; and payments on bonds from 65 cents to 67 cents. The commission allocated three cents toward the solid-waste fund unchanged. The total increase includes one and a half cents toward creating a county public works department to deal with problems in drainage and storm water problems. (The Tennessean, 7/7/03).

Roads and Bridges

o Less than a quarter of Tennessee bridges are considered deficient, a marked improvement after a decade of increased government attention and funding, state offficials said.

The number of bridges in Tennessee considered deficient declined 27 percent from 6,342 in 1992 to 4,606 in 2002. The state has 19,590 bridges. Tennessee has cut $65 million to help make up for deficits in other state programs. (AP/The Tennessean, 7/8/03).

Schools

o Memphis and Shelby County enrollments increase by 1,000 students a year. The city system opened two new schools last year and will open three more this fall, while the county has opened two new schools and plans to open five more over the next three years to ease overcrowding in the system (Commercial Appeal, 6/23/03).

o The school board is entertaining a series of doomsday scenarios after county Mayor A. C. Wharton said he is not willing to support raising taxes to fund the new Arlington High School or to expand Houston High. Both are needed to relieve acute crowding in the county’s seven high schools, which are expected to be at least 800 students over capacity this fall. (Commercial Appeal, 6/19/03).

Solid Waste

o The Williamson County Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee identified the number-one threat to planned growth in the county as portable sewer systems.

Self-sustaining sewer systems are becoming more common because they allow larger developments not to be limited to areas with conventional sewer availability.

Developer Boyce Magli agreed that these systems could singlehandedly kill planned development in the county. (The Tennessean, 7/24/03)

Virginia

Top Three Infrastructure Concerns

o Roads

o Bridges

o Schools

Key Infrastructure Facts

o Federal funding for Virginia’s road and bridge system under TEA-21 was approximately $710 million in fiscal year 2002.

o 32 percent of Virginia’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

o 29 percent of Virginia’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

o 25 percent of Virginia’s urban freeways are congested.

o Vehicle travel on Virginia’s highways increased by 21 percent from 1991 to 2001. Virginia’s population grew by 16 percent between 1990 and 2001.

o Driving on roads in need of repair costs Virginia motorists $1.3 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs — $256 per motorist.

o 29 percent of municipal solid waste is recycled in Virginia.

o Virginia must invest $4.3 billion over the next 20 years to repair and replace aging wastewater treatment facilities.

o 60 percent of Virginia’s schools have at least one inadequate building feature.

o 58 percent of Virginia’s schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition.

o The state needs to invest $2.05 billion over the next 20 years to repair or replace aging drinking water systems.

o There are 50 state-determined deficient dams in Virginia.

o The rehabilitation cost for Virginia’s most critical dams is estimated at $147.2 million.

Field Notes From Civil Engineers in the State

o As of mid-August, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will have prepared its first needs-based budget (measuring highway asset conditions to determine repair and funding needs), which is a big step toward comprehensive infrastructure management.

The past approach was to take last year’s funding and simply increase or decrease without knowing the consequences. The new approach will answer "what-if" type scenarios. — from Richmond, VA

o If we had all the money we needed and started to correct these problems 10 years ago, we would still have been too late. —from Roanoke, VA

From the Headlines

Roads and Bridges

o The Kings Highway Bridge, one of the worst bridges in Hampton Roads, will finally be replaced. The 73-year-old swing span carries VA 125 traffic over the Nansemond River.

The bridge is more than two decades past its life expectancy. State transportation engineers rate bridges using a scale of 100 points. A span’s structural health makes up approximately half the grade. How well it handles traffic makes up approximately a third. The rest of the grade gauges how important the bridge is to getting around. A score of less than 50 means the bridge may need to be replaced.

The Kings Highway Bridge is rated a zero by state transportation engineers. Despite its deteriorating condition, demand for the bridge is rising. Daily trips rose from 2,015 in 1986 to 3,400 by 2000. (Virginian-Pilot, 8/21/03)

o Virginia’s top transportation official