Kansas may have more problem bridges than states such as California and Illinois, but experts say that doesn’t tell the whole story of a state filled with century-old rural spans that carry just a few vehicles every day.
According to Federal Highway Administration statistics from last year, Kansas had 347 bridges — out of more than 25,000 statewide — that were both rated in poor condition and lack the structural redundancies needed to guard against collapse. That compares with 302 in California and 189 in Illinois.
But most of those 347 bridges in Kansas are aging, county-owned spans. They’re a reflection of an aging rural population that doesn’t have the financial clout to keep the little-used roadways open.
“In the big counties, most of the population doesn’t use those bridges — just farmers and people who live in rural areas,” said Norman Bowers, local road engineer for the Kansas Association of Counties. “It’s an issue of priority for the counties. Do you spend money to replace a bridge when only 10 people a day use it?”
(Read more: KSN TV)Details