Concerns over Madera County bridges

MADERA COUNTY, Calif.

Madera County has nearly 230 bridges, and 74 of them are in need of maintenance. That's according to a new report that lists the county as second in the state for the percentage of structurally deficient bridges, behind only San Francisco County. The ranking raises red flags for some drivers.

Latasha Jefferies said, "I would think they would need to get fixed, especially Madera's populating quick, and people are constantly back and forth."

Arcinio Arauz added, "I notice quite a bit of bridges, especially going over the waterways and canals, and obviously we need those bridges."

But the county's road commissioner says the terminology can be deceiving.

Johannes Hoevertsz said, "Just because a bridge is considered structurally deficient doesn't mean it's unsafe."

Joahnnes Hoevertz says Madera is high on the list because many of the bridges in this growing county are old and need to be repaired or replaced eventually.

Jared Carter said, "This railing right here, you can see it's all dented up, and it's not up to current standards, so that's something that needs to be upgraded."

A bridge on Road 28 near Avenue 11 in Madera County was considered structurally deficient, and is now under construction. However, getting to this point takes years.

Johannes Hoevertsz said, "The biggest obstacle we have replacing our bridges is not funding from the state. It's environmental regulations we have to go through to complete the bridges."

Hoevertz says that's why the process can take three to five years. But he adds any bridge that becomes a danger to drivers would be shut down immediately.

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