‘We have excellent bridges’: UDOT assures infrastructure safety amid Baltimore collapse

Mar 27, 2024, 6:41 PM | Updated: 6:51 pm

OGDEN The news out of Baltimore is tragic, and can cause us to wonder about the integrity of our own infrastructure here in Utah.

The Utah Department of Transportation is assuring us that safety is the top priority.

“We have excellent bridges here in Utah,” said UDOT spokesperson Mitch Shaw. “If we ever had a bridge that we suspected was not safe for the traveling public, we’d shut it down immediately.” 

In 2022, Utah’s bridges were ranked as the best maintained in the nation, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highways Administration.  

Of course, infrastructure isn’t perfect.

According to the National Bridge Inventory, with more than 3,000 bridges throughout the state, Utah currently has 138 bridges in need of repair, with 75 classified as “structurally deficient.” The National Bridge Inventory estimates the cost to repair all the bridges would be around $168 million.  

Shaw said while the term “structurally deficient” may sound alarming, it doesn’t mean a bridge is unsafe, just that there could be some maintenance issues they need to monitor. 

“If there’s a bridge that has any sort of hint of anything wrong with it, we go into immediate action,” he said.

Shaw emphasized their crews do thorough routine inspections to make sure they are all up to code.  

While we may not be at risk for a collapse like what happened in Baltimore, Utah still has a high number of freight vehicles traveling on its roads. Just last year, a truck carrying a crane ran into a bridge on Interstate 215, but the bridge remained intact, with minimal damage. 

“They’re designed for earthquakes, for impacts from large vehicles,” Shaw said. “Our bridges and our road infrastructure is as safe as it can possibly be.” 

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‘We have excellent bridges’: UDOT assures infrastructure safety amid Baltimore collapse