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Troubled Bridges Over Wayne County Waters and Freeways: Report

Wayne County leads the state with the worst bridges. It also has the most of any of Michigan’s 83 counties and the oldest freeway system.

Wayne County has the most structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges of any of Michigan's 83 counties, according to a report released Tuesday. (Photo: Getty Images)
Wayne County has the most structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges of any of Michigan's 83 counties, according to a report released Tuesday. (Photo: Getty Images)

Wayne County has the worst bridges in the state, according to a new study released Tuesday by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.

The survey of Michigan’s 11,000 state and local bridges found that one in four Michigan bridges is either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, The Detroit News reports.

More than half – 54 percent -– of Wayne County bridges – 549 – fall into that category, due primarily to age and the financial resources to repair the bridges, the Michigan Department of Transportation said. Wayne County has the most bridges of any Michigan counties, and the oldest freeway system.

“The real message that needs to come out of this report is the need for sustainable funding to address our aging infrastructure, including bridges,” MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross said.

Bridge repairs are primarily funded with state gasoline/diesel taxes, but those revenues have been steadily declining while the cost of materials to repair bridges have been rapidly increasing.

Nearby Genesee, Oakland and Wayne Counties weren’t far behind.

The Top 5 were:

  • Wayne County: 1026 total bridges, 549 or 54 percent of which are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete

  • Genesee County: 371 total bridges, 165 or 44 percent of which are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete

  • Oakland County: 468 total bridges, 159 or 34 percent of which are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete

  • Macomb County: 405 total bridges, 107 or 26 percent of which are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete

  • Ingham County: 237 total bridges, 107 or 43 percent of which are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete

Cindy Dingell, a spokeswoman for the Roads Division of the Wayne County Department of Public Services, said the funding crisis means the county earmarks what precious little money it receives to maintaining its 740 miles of roads. At current rates, that means only 12 miles of roads receive attention annually.

“We crunched the numbers, and it’s quite startling,” Dingell said. “At the rate we’re going, it will take the county 61 years to get through the entire system.”

Craig Bryson, a spokesman for the Road Commission of Oakland County, told The Detroit News that if crumbling roads and bridges is what we want for our state, we should continue to fund this critical infrastructure at the current levels.”

“If we want something better, we have to start to get real about how we pay for that infrastructure,” he said.



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