A new report detailing the vast expanse of dangerous bridges in the U.S. from coast-to-coast is startling, especially if you live in Maine, where 352 of 2,450 bridges were identified as having serious structural deficiencies. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent bridge inventory analysis classified more than 47,000 bridges nationally “structurally deficient” and “in poor condition.” The American Road & Transportation Builders Association notes that if we were to lay these structures end-to-end, they’d stretch from Houston to Chicago.
Bangor car accident attorneys know that when someone is injured or killed because of dangerous transportation infrastructure, the question of liability may be complicated. You’ll need an experienced, well-resourced law firm to help you untangle the question of who is responsible – and further to hold them legally accountable for damages.
The Scope of U.S. Decaying Traffic Infrastructure
TheTrucker.com’s report on the new data estimated more than 178 million trips are made in cars, school buses, tractor-trailers, and motorcycles across these defective roads and bridges daily.
The only bit of good news is that the rate of dangerous bridges nationally fell slightly last year compared to 2017, indicating some progress is being made with infrastructure improvements. Then again, it would take 80 years at this rate to replace all the decrepit bridges in the U.S., and by then we’d be pressed to start all over again.
The problem is and has always been funding. A $1.75 trillion transportation infrastructure package proposed by the Trump White House last year stalled amid questions on both sides of the aisle about how the cost would be covered. The proposal asked for $200 billion in federal tax dollars that would spur private investments totaling $1.5 trillion. Lawmakers quoted later said that while they supported transportation infrastructure overhaul, this plan was too fuzzy on details and assurances the government could raise that much from private companies and investors. There is talk of another similar proposal from the White House yet this year.
How Maine Bridge Danger Compares Nationally
Bangor car accident attorneys know Maine drivers unfortunately have always been among those at highest risk on deteriorating roadways. This state has consistently ranked among the top for dangerous bridges in New England and nationally. Business Insider last year identified the Southbound I-295 bridge over Route 88 in Cumberland County to be the most at-risk bridge in Maine.
Meanwhile the latest Maine Infrastructure Report Card (issued by the state’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers) reported nearly 1 in 5 highways in Maine were in “poor” condition – or worse. In total, more than 1,500 miles of highways in this state (out of nearly 8,650) are outdated, deteriorating and underfunded. State officials opine it will cost more than $100 million to fix them all – even after collecting taxes for gas and bonds approved by voters.
Few were surprised earlier this month when the Maine Better Transportation Association announced a “Worst Road in Maine” contest where Maine drivers are asked to contribute a story about a terrible road – for a chance to win $529. The grand prize happens to be the exact amount every driver here pays in additional costs for vehicle repairs and crashes where dangerous transportation infrastructure plays a role.
Liability claims against the government for failure to maintain safe roads have succeeded on occasion, but claimants must clear many more hurdles when the government is named a defendant versus typical claims against other drivers. Discuss all your options with an experienced Maine injury lawyer.
If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.