In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) assessed sixteen categories of infrastructure ranging from airports to wastewater treatment plants and gave the U.S a D+ grade for its $3.6 trillion of overdue maintenance and a pressing need for modernization. ASCE notes that America’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure rose slightly to a D+ in 2013, ranging from a high of B- for solid waste to a low of D- for inland waterways and levees. Solid waste, drinking water, wastewater, roads, and bridges all saw incremental improvements, and rail jumped from a C- to a C+. WaPo’s Graphics Reporter Tim Meko recently summarized the issue with a series of maps and links that are required reading to inform the current political discussion and protests over U.S. infrastructure needs. This includes the below map of the location and status of U.S. bridges, many of which are deemed as “structurally deficient” (in red):
The Federal Highway Administration says the nation’s 607,380 bridges are on average 42 years old and require $20.5 billion annually by 2028 to eliminate the backlog of repairs and replacements (only $12.8 billion is being spent currently).
A good time to be an engineer!