Number of structurally deficient Kitsap bridges nearing zero

Of the nation’s 63,000 structurally deficient bridges, only 2 1/2 reside in Kitsap County.
The county line cuts through the middle of the Hood Canal Bridge, hence the half. Our side was replaced in 2009. Jefferson County’s half sank in 1979 and reopened in 1982.
The world’s third-longest floating bridge is considered structurally deficient because  underwater cables need to be replaced, says state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker. About half of them will be changed out this summer and the bridge will come off the list.
The William A. Bugge Bridge, as it’s officially titled, is the only Kitsap span appearing on the state’s list of 139.
Kitsap County holds two others — Anderson Creek Bridge and Lake Symington Bridge — among its 105-bridge inventory. Anderson Creek, the last timber bridge in the county, is a mile north of Holly. Built in 1950, it’s scheduled for replacement in 2016, said Dan Wolfe, the county’s lead bridge inspector. It only carries about 400 cars a day.
The county hasn’t determined what to do with the Lake Symington bridge, which it inherited about a decade ago. It’s problematic because it doubles as a spillway and there are no detailed plans of how it was built. About 1,050 cars cross each day.
“Engineering is still figuring out if there’s a way to replace that bridge without doing any additional work to the spillway,” Wolfe said.
At the rate the county is crossing bridges off its deficient list, it won’t need bridge workers much longer. They can switch over to replacing culverts.
“Related to other counties, we’re in really good shape,” Wolfe said. “We’ll have all concrete structures that are going to be around for a long time to come. It’s taken a long time to get everything compliant, but we’re in good shape.”
Structurally deficient doesn’t mean a bridge is ready to fall down but that the superstructure, substructure or deck is in poor condition.
Just outside Kitsap’s borders are a couple other bridges that make the state list. The Mission Creek bridge on Highway 300 (North Shore Road) in Mason County could use some substructure work. The treated-timber span was built in 1963.
Plans for the Purdy bridge in Pierce County are up in the air until it’s decided what to do with Highway 302 in general. Built in 1936, it’s too small to handle traffic on the Purdy spit.
Kitsap’s bridges contrast with the way the nation’s were depicted in an analysis this week by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. It looked at a new National Bridge Inventory database recently released by the U.S. Department of Transportation and counted more than 63,000 structurally compromised bridges. They’re crossed 250 million times every day.
Pennsylvania (5,218), Iowa (5,043), Oklahoma (4,227), Missouri (3,357) and California (2,769) have the highest number of structurally deficient bridges; Nevada (36), Delaware (56), Utah (117), Alaska (133) and Hawaii (144) the least. Washington was 37th with 372.
Pennsylvania also finished worst in percentage  of its bridges that are structurally deficient (23 percent), followed by Rhode Island (22), Iowa (21), South Dakota (21) and Nebraska (18). Just 2 percent of Texas, Nevada and Florida were deficient, followed by Arizona (3), Utah (4) and Washington (5).
The ARTBA is worried that bridge conditions will worsen if Congress doesn’t restore the Highway Trust Fund. There will be no finds available from it in fiscal year 2015, which begins Oct. 1.