Nearly 300 bridges in New Jersey are classified as structurally deficient, while more than 200 others could be added to that list over the next five years.
Assemblyman Gary Schaer said Wednesday he is concerned what might happen to those bridges without an agreement to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund. The fund that covers road and bridge repairs and maintenance will be exhausted in August.
“It’s not something that is innocuous or inconvenience, but we’re talking about literally people’s safety is put at play,” said Schaer, D-Passaic. “Is that a correct statement?”
Acting Transportation Commissioner Richard Hammer answered that the bulk of the money for bridge inspections comes from federal sources.
“If there’s anything emergent in nature that is uncovered, we tend to those things immediately,” said Hammer.
Classification as “deficient” means components of the bridges need of repairs.
“We have made adjustments in how we are funding our maintenance work to make sure that we get at those elements that are going to cause that bridge to become deficient and perhaps stop that deterioration through some preventive maintenance measure,” Hammer said.
The state would not hesitate to close a bridge if it’s determined to be unsafe, he said.