Local officials and drivers react to the state of New Jersey bri - NBC40.net

Local officials and drivers react to the state of New Jersey bridges

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After a recent report from Transportation for America found ten percent of New Jersey bridges structurally deficient, some motorist may think twice about the pavement under their tires.

"Its really scary when you drive across them. You think about it a lot, every time you go over a bridge," said Julie Reinert of Egg Harbor Township.

In Cape May, three total bridges, two of which are active, were of concern.

And while storm damage and corrosion landed Ocean Drive in Lower Township and the Lafayette Street Bridge in Cape May on the list, county officials say naming a bridge structurally deficient is merely a precautionary step.

"Believe me I don't like to have a bridge on the structurally deficient list. Immediately we began preparing to take care of it and we made directions to our consultants to get it off the structurally deficient list," said Cape May County Engineer Dale Foster.

Foster says the national average for structurally deficient bridges is one in four and in Cape May County, no danger exists to motorists.

For some that navigate area bridges and the water underneath them, they are pleased to see officials finding the problems before they become dangerous.

"I know its something the whole nation struggles with and its nice to know they are bringing it to peoples attention and hopefully it gets it fixed," said Jack Clark of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

In addition to old age, Foster says the marine environment also provides additional challenges when it comes to the maintenance and upkeep of the counties 22 bridges.

"Take for example the Lafayette street Bridge," said Foster.

"They corrode because of the marine environment. We've got to go back in there and strengthen those beams to take it off the structurally deficient list."

Foster says the county and state actively maintain the bridges.

He says the state budgets roughly one million dollars a year to each county for bridge maintenance.

So despite the concerning statistics, county officials say federal, state, and local governments are working to maintain and restore the safety of bridges.

"They’re inspected, we do make sure we keep the bridges inspected to make sure we're out there immediately to take care of it,” said Foster.

Foster says bridges are thoroughly inspected every two years and if any deficiencies are found, they are then inspected every year.

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