A new report finds Illinois has one of the highest percentages in the nation of bridges in need of major repairs or upgrades.
The analysis, conducted by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), found that more than eight percent of Illinois' bridges are structurally deficient.
Alison Black, chief economist with the ARTBA, says that number comes to about 2,200 bridges in Illinois.
"A bridge is classified as structurally deficient if one of the key structural elements, usually the deck, superstructure or substructure, is rated in poor condition or worse," she says.
Black says Illinois has more than twice as many structurally deficient bridges in urban areas as in rural areas.
According to Black, the bridge problem in Illinois and nationwide could get even worse. Unless Congress acts, the latest extension of federal highway and transit funding through the Highway Trust Fund is set to expire May 31.
"This is something that is an issue, funding both at the federal, state and local level," she says. "It's something that all levels of government need to address. But the uncertainly over the federal-aid situation is a big issue for state DOTs and local governments."
According to the report, about 6,100 bridges nationally are considered "structurally compromised." Many of those bridges are on Interstate highways, which carry the bulk of the nation's truck traffic and passenger vehicles.