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In 2021, there were 146,000 bridges in the US National Highway System. And as of that June, 44,000 of them were in “poor” condition.

The National Bridge Inventory ranks bridge quality as good, fair, or poor. The inventory assigns bridges numerical ratings for the conditions of a bridge's roadway and structural components. A rating of seven or higher means that part is “good;” a five or six is “fair;” and four or less is “poor.” The four lowest ratings determine the overall bridge quality.

Assigned Rating Classification
≥ 7 Good
5 to 6 Fair
≤ 4 Poor

What percent of highway bridges are in poor condition? How have conditions changed over time?

In 2022, 5% of highway bridges were in poor condition. About 52% were fair, and roughly 43.1% were good.

The shares of bridges in poor condition decreased, and overall bridge conditions have improved over time. Look at 2000 as an example: That year, 9.8% of highway bridges were poor, 43.1% were fair, and 46.8% were good.

Highway bridges in poor condition decreased by 4.8% between 2000–2022, and bridges in fair condition increased by nearly 9%.

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Which states have the best and worst bridges?

There are multiple ways to evaluate “best” and “worst.” bridge conditions — Georgia had the highest percentage of highway bridges in good condition in 2022 (76.9%), but Utah had the lowest percentage of in poor condition (0.8%).

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In comparison, Rhode Island had the highest percentage of highway bridges in poor condition (17.1%), and West Virginia had the lowest percentage in good condition (15.7%).

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Which state had the most bridge improvements?

Fifteen states had higher percentages of good-condition highway bridges in 2022 than they did in 2000. Georgia’s highway bridges in good condition increased the most, up by 19.6 percentage points. Ohio followed, then Alaska, Vermont, and Oklahoma, which each increased their shares of good bridges by at least 10 percentage points.

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Improving bridge conditions also means reducing the number of highway bridges in poor condition. While many states were able to do this, Utah led by decreasing poor bridges by 18.6 percentage points between 2000 and 2022. It was followed by Rhode Island, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

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Which highway bridges are best: urban or rural?

Between 2012 and 2022, bridges in good condition increased in urban areas while they decreased in rural areas. The rural gap widened from 21% to 18% in good condition. For both urban and rural areas, however, bridges in poor condition decreased the same amount, from 4% to 3%.

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National Bridge Inventory
Last updated
Bureau of Transportation Statistics