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Operation Safe Roads: Bridge safety

Posted: 3:33 PM, Nov 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-27 18:37:39-05

You hear of bridges collapsing from time to time, and that keeps Arizona bridge inspectors busy making sure that doesn't happen here.

The Arizona Department of Transportation and Pima County say they're regularly checking all aspects of a bridge. 

"We'll go look at the bridge surface that you and I are driving on everyday and make sure that it's in good condition so you can keep control of your vehicle if it rains, or if you need to make an urgent move," Tom Hermman with ADOT said.

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Inspections and repairs have been going on around the county this week.

The Pima County Department of Transportation held inspections at the Marsh Station Road bridge over Cienega Creek. ADOT began work to replace the bridge deck at the Pinal Air Park Road bridge  over Interstate 10. 


"What drivers really need to know, is we don't just put up the bridges and walk away," Hermann said. "We're going to be looking at those bridges every year, every other year to make sure that they're safe."

Hermann says the 8,00 bridges around the state are in good shape, and drivers shouldn't be concerned driving over or under them.

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He adds that bridges that are deemed structurally deficient, don't really pose a danger to drivers, rather show signs that repairs are needed.

County and city inspector, Dave Zaleski, says bridges with load restrictions are safe up to that load. 

Hermann says ADOT's first priority is safety, then longevity when it comes to bridges. 

"We're looking at the deck, we're looking at the support structure. And if we can make repairs, that will lengthen the life of that bridge so that we don't have to go with an entirely new bridge."

This week, the Tucson Department of Transportation has been finishing up the new Houghton Road bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The bridge is expected to reopen later this month.