New Jersey has been making progress in repairing aging bridges, but officials are worried the state won’t be able to keep up with newly identified problems.
The number of bridges in need of rehab work has dropped from 330 five years ago to 290 now, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
But another 200 bridges are expected to become structurally deficient in the next five years, said Steve Schapiro, department spokesman.
“Without appropriate funding, it will be hard to keep up as more bridges get added to the list,” he said.
The delay in replenishing the state’s Transportation Trust Fund for road and bridge repairs could make things worse, said Martin Robins, director emeritus of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers.
“What I’m afraid of is that the pipeline is going to get stuck as we wait for the Legislature and the governor to find money for the Transportation Trust Fund, and we will have delays in getting work out, and the number of bridges that will be deficient in a couple of years will be even higher,” he said.
Robins says harsh winter weather over the last few years has accelerated the deterioration of bridges built in the 1960s.
Meanwhile, lawmakers and Gov. Chris Christie remain at odds on how to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, which is expected to hit bottom next year.