Don’t Judge a Bridge by Its Cables

Aside from having to cross a bridge, there’s probably nothing worse for a gephyrophobiac like me than to  hear on the morning news that nearly 56,000 bridges in the United States are structurally deficient.   That’s what the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) says in a report issued last month.

Whaaat?   I hear this and my mind envisions a scene something like this.


Forcing my foot to press the gas pedal to drive a heavy load of hay over this flimsy wooden deck, would’ve required more faith in something greater than myself than I could muster.  I’d expect this bridge to fall apart.   Yet, someone brave took the plunge (I couldn’t resist…) and carried daily delivery or more of a farmer’s hay to the other side.  Thankfully it looks like anyone in the cab would have been okay.

The bridges on the structurally deficient list are crossed 185 million times per day according to the ARTBA.   Unfortunately most bridges don’t look like the frail structure above.   The bridges on the report are more modern looking like this.


Brooklyn Bridge is on the list of ARTBA’s structurally deficient bridges.   Photo by Thomas Bormans

While the Brooklyn Bridge is 133 years old, its steel and cables and granite and limestone make it appear safer to me than it apparently is.  This reinforces my fear!

I took a look at the reports, sliced and diced by state, most travelled, and more.  My conclusion is that all the data supports just ONE thing; my gephyrophobia is founded!

Don’t judge a bridge by the way it looks, click here for the reports.