Washington Department of Transportation rates Latah Creek Bridge as ‘poor’
SPOKANE, Wash. – One of the busiest bridges in the Interior Northwest has the same safety rating as the bridge that collapsed in Pittsburgh and sent 10 people to hospital.
Of the three ratings, “good”, “fair” and “poor”, the collapsed bridge has been rated “poor” for months.
The I-90 bridge over Latah Creek, which more than 40,000 people use daily, also has the same “poor” rating.
“Generally, if someone says a bridge is in poor condition, it means that at least one of the main elements – the bridge deck or the superstructure is four or less. And that means roughly the same for most agencies,” said Mark Gaines, state bridge engineer for the Washington Department of Transportation.
All bridges are graded to the same national bridge inspection standards set by the Federal Highway Administration.
However, in Washington, Gaines explained that “bad” bridges shouldn’t worry drivers.
“When it’s bad, it doesn’t mean it’s less safe than a bridge in great condition, it just means there’s maintenance and preservation work that needs to be done, which aren’t funded or scheduled yet,” Gaines said.
The Latah Creek Bridge is rated “poor” because the expansion joints on the bridge deck are strained. During extreme heat, these joints can even burst. The Washington Department of Transportation is monitoring the situation closely.
At this time, there is no date or funding for a repair project.
The Rosamond Bridge is closed to motorists. But that doesn’t stop them from using it. They repeatedly rejected the “road closed” sign.
Kim Wright, who lives on Rosamond Avenue, says the bridge opening is convenient.
“There is a lot of traffic going there. School buses and everything going on there,” Wright said.
Rosamond is closed due to deterioration of the bridge deck. The middle of the road, where the degradation is the strongest, is blocked by cones.
“What they are putting at risk is more their vehicle because with any driving surface you hit a pothole and you can get a flat tire, you can hurt your suspension on the vehicle , twist and axle, things like that,” said Ryan Overton, communications manager for WSDOT. “We closed the bridge for that reason.”
If a bridge becomes a problem, the Department of Transportation can impose weight restrictions, reduce lanes, or close the bridge altogether.
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