Many Iowans get excited once the snow finally melts in the spring months. Winter can last for a while in the state, so it feels refreshing to be finally able to drive with the windows down and not worry about 30-minute delays from excessive ice or snow.
However, that doesn't mean driving during the warmer months is easier. Now drivers will have to worry about dozens of potholes and flooded parts of the state while planning their routes. Unfortunately, recent reports highlight how this is also a dangerous time to be driving on bridges as well.
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association recently published their 2019 Bridge Report. They found that over 47,000 of America's bridges are structurally deficient and require crucial repairs.
They also ranked which states are in need of bridge renovations the most. Iowa unfortunately is one of the highest-ranking states on some of their lists. The Hawkeye State has the largest number of structurally deficient bridges at 4,675, and is ranked third when it compared to the total amount of bridges currently in the state. Nearly 20 percent of Iowa's bridges need repairs.
Is the Worst Yet to Come?
The last couple of months showcased the damage this year's harsh winter brought on our state's bridges. In early March, the Trestle Trail Bridge collapsed from an ice jam. Safety workers have also spotted ice chunks getting stuck and scraping the structure of the I-80 bridge west of Van Meter.
As Iowa's lawmakers continue to debate on how to handle the state's crumbling bridge problems, commercial drivers and commuters should keep a close eye on reports about flood warnings and other potential dangers. They should plan out alternate paths in case they believe a bridge becomes too unsafe to cross even if state officials haven't closed it. If they receive damages on a structurally deficient bridge despite all their precautions, they should contact a personal injury attorney to help them with the recovery process.