These Are The Three Worst-Rated Bridges in Each N.J. County

By: Nick Devlin, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
February 6, 2022

 

We know there are nearly 500 bridges rated poor across New Jersey. But which are in the worst condition near you?

 

NJ Advance Media did an analysis of the 482 structurally deficient bridges in New Jersey using three separate ratings from the Federal Highway Administration, which keeps an annual inventory tracking how the nation’s spans are faring.

 

Each bridge is rated by the federal government on its deck, superstructure and substructure. The deck is the flat part that you drive or walk over. The superstructure is made up of the girders and trusses, usually steel or concrete, that support the deck. The substructure is represented by the bridge’s piers or abutments, the parts that anchor it into the ground.

 

In each category, a bridge receives a rating between 1 and 10. A rating of 7 or above is considered good, while 4 or below is poor. Anything in between is classified as fair.

 

On Jan. 28, a bridge collapse in Pittsburgh highlighted concerns over the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. In terms of preventing those kinds of calamities, bridge ratings in two of the three categories — the superstructure and substructure — are vitally important, according to structural engineers.

 

A low rating in the deck category, meanwhile, is unlikely to mean the bridge is close to tumbling out of the sky.

 

“The deck could be [covered in] potholes end to end, and you probably won’t get a collapse,” said Andy Herrmann, a former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

 

With that in mind, NJ Advance Media calculated a weighted average of the three ratings for each bridge. The ratings for the superstructure and substructure were weighted twice as heavily to account for their larger role in keeping the bridge elevated.

 

See the map below for the three bridges in your county that, according to the data, are most at risk.

 

Nick Devlin may be reached by email at ndevlin@njadvancemedia.com or on Twitter at @nickdevlin.