The collapse of the bridge over the Skagit River Thursday brings to light the fact that many bridges across the state are deemed functionally obsolete or structurally deficient.
According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, 95 percent of Washington bridges are in fair to good condition. In 2011, 391 bridges were classified as structurally deficient. That doesn't mean the bridge isn't safe, rather it has deterioration to one of more of its major components.
Five percent of the state's bridges are in poor condition.
In the Spokane area, major bridges that most of us cross every day -- like the Maple Street Bridge -- have weight restrictions for a reason. They weren't built for today's traffic and semi trucks. In fact, a large number of Spokane County bridges were built 50 or more years ago and they're carrying the load of 2013 traffic.
WSDOT looks after 148 bridges in our area while Spokane County takes care of another 163 and the City of Spokane manages 44 bridges.
It's Staci Lehman's job at the Spokane Regional Transportation Council to make sure all those bridges are on the radar.
"There's a lot of bridges that need maintenance, all of our infrastructure is basically aging and close to 50 years old so it's time to do maintenance and preservation on it," she said.
One of those bridges is the Green Street Bridge, which is functionally obsolete.
"It's close to at least 50 years old, which means it was built for cars of a different era and now we're bringing large semis and multi-axle trucks across it and it just wasn't built for that weight," she said.
In transportation talk bridges are either "functionally obsolete" -- meaning weight limit is the only problem -- or "structurally deficient" which means it has structural issues that need repair.
It sounds bad but Lehman and Gilson say our bridges are safe just old, so they need work.
"If we don't put the investment into our bridges now, basically it's hard to say what will happen with them, but that's the case with all of our transportation structure," Lehman said.
With an estimated price tag of $1.9 billion to fix all of Spokane County's bridges however Lehman thinks it's unlikely Spokane bridges will see the fixes they need anytime soon.
"Someone needs to win the lottery, apparently the MegaMillions," she said.
There is so much data to flesh out about Spokane County bridges so if you want to know how many bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete you can click here for the Spokane Regional Transportation Council report on bridges, and this bridge report from the Washington State Department of Transportation.