New report claims thousands of bridges and highway ramps across the country are unsafe

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The American Road and Transportation Builders Association, say nearly 56,000 bridges in our country are in disrepair, 5 percent are in California. (KFSN)

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association, say nearly 56,000 bridges in our country are in disrepair. Of those that need to be repaired or replaced five-percent are in California.

Number 183 on that list is an off ramp in Fresno coming off of the 99, but Caltrans says it's not deficient anymore.

Cory Burkarth with Caltrans said the Olive Avenue and 99 off ramp was widened by almost six feet in 2015 as part of the 99 realignment project. It could explain why the ARTBA labeled it satisfactory in 2015.

There was however concerns surrounding the off ramps safety in 2013-- which is why it is on the list as one of the most traveled structurally deficient bridges in the country-- a status in which Burkarth doesn't agree.

"Don't be alarmed by the term structurally deficient, it doesn't actually mean that the bridge is unsafe. If the bridge was unsafe at all we would close it."

The ARTBA, the group that released the report, works hand in hand with the Associated General Contractors of California. AGC said they define a bridge as structurally unsound if there's erosion of concrete or shifting under the ramp or bridge causing it to break and crack.

Right now, AGC is lobbying for the passage of AB-1, senate bill one, and assembly bill one-- both which would increase transportation funding.

"These two bills intend to infuse in the neighborhood of $5 billion to $6 billion into transportation funding," said Tom Holsman, CEO, AGC of California.

In Fresno County, Caltrans says they have a team solely dedicated to inspecting and maintaining bridges and that drivers should not be worried on our roadways.

"We spend over $450-million a year to inspect, maintain, and preserve bridges statewide. And in California we've never had a statewide bridge fail due to negligence," said Burkarth.
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