Local Information

WSDOT bridge conditions continue to improve

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 07:57

Joe Irwin, Strategic Assessment and Performance Analysis, 360-705-6879
DeWayne Wilson, Bridge Management engineer, 360-705-7214 (bridge conditions)
John Milton, Director of Transportation Safety and Systems Analysis, 360-704-6363 (highway safety)

Quarterly Gray Notebook report also tracks freight, fish passage and highway safety statistics

OLYMPIA – The condition of bridges owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation continued to improve through the first half of 2018. Between fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the percentage of WSDOT owned bridges (measured by bridge deck area) in fair or better condition increased from 91.8 percent to 92.5 percent. State fiscal years (FY) run from July 1 through June 30, with FY2018 ending June 30, 2018.

WSDOT reports bridge conditions measured by the surface area of bridge decks rather than simply reporting the number of bridges in each condition category in order to provide a more accurate view of system-wide bridge conditions, and to conform with federal reporting methods. While WSDOT uses deck surface area for reporting purposes, the ratings themselves cover all aspects of a bridge, including support structures.

WSDOT also collects data on the conditions of bridges owned and maintained by local governments such as counties and cities. Overall statewide bridge conditions– including both state and locally owned bridges – also improved. In FY 2018, approximately 4.8 million square feet (6.6 percent) of the 72.3 million square feet of deck on bridges owned by local and state governments was in poor condition. That's an improvement from FY 2017, when 7.6 percent was in poor condition. A bridge in poor condition is still safe for travel; the "poor" rating identifies that substantial repairs are needed, but they do not require bridge closure before the work is completed.

These analyses and others can be found in WSDOT's latest edition of its quarterly performance publication, the Gray Notebook (pdf 5.46 mb). The current publication summarizes the quarter that ended June 30 and includes articles on freight, highway system safety and fish passage barriers. Notable topics include:

  • Washington waterborne freight tonnage increased 10.2 percent in 2016 compared to 2015; air cargo tonnage in Washington increased 7.6 percent during the same period.
  • Tragically, annual statewide traffic fatalities increased 5.4 percent and serious injuries increased 0.3 percent from 2016 to 2017.
  • WSDOT corrected 14 fish passage barriers in 2017, improving access to 45.5 miles of potential upstream habitat.

To learn more about WSDOT's performance or to review "Gray Notebook 70" or its condensed "Lite" version, visit WSDOT's Accountability website.

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