National Bridge Inventory: North Carolina

  • Of the 18,377 bridges in the state, 1,871, or 10.2 percent, are classified as structurally deficient. This means one of the key elements is in poor or worse condition.
  • This is down from 2,187 bridges classified as structurally deficient in 2014.
  • 37 of the structurally deficient bridges are on the Interstate Highway System.
  • 3,170 bridges are posted for load, which may restrict the size and weight of vehicles crossing the structure.
  • The state has identified needed repairs on 6,248 bridges at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion.
  • This compares to 7,087 bridges that needed work in 2014.

County Year Built Daily Crossings Type of Bridge Location
Wake 1968 149,000 Urban Interstate I40 over Brier Creek
Alamance 1953 124,000 Urban Interstate I40, I85, SR1167 over Gum Creek
Wake 1982 118,000 Urban Interstate I40 over Walnut Creek
Mecklenburg 1967 86,000 Urban Interstate I277 & NC16 over North College Street
Mecklenburg 1967 86,000 Urban Interstate I277 & NC16 over Brevard Street
Wake 1958 78,000 Urban Interstate I-440 & SR1319 over Walnut Creek
Forsyth 1964 74,000 Urban freeway/expressway US52 over 28th Street
Forsyth 1964 74,000 Urban freeway/expressway US52 over 25th Street
Forsyth 1955 74,000 Urban freeway/expressway I40 Bus over SR4315 (Liberty St)
Forsyth 1958 73,000 Urban freeway/expressway I40 Bus over Brushy Fork Creek
Wake 1961 69,000 Urban other principal arterial US1, US401 over Marsh Creek
Forsyth 1971 60,000 Urban freeway/expressway US52, US311 over Vargrave St
Forsyth 1971 59,000 Urban freeway/expressway US52, US311 over Sprague Street
Forsyth 1971 59,000 Urban freeway/expressway US52, US311,Nc8 over Wssb Railroad
Durham 1955 55,000 Urban freeway/expressway US70 East over Goose Creek
Forsyth 1960 55,000 Urban freeway/expressway US421 over Little Creek
Wake 1962 54,000 Urban freeway/expressway US70,Nc50 over Pigeon House Creek
Forsyth 1959 53,500 Urban freeway/expressway Nc67 over I40 Bus
Johnston 1970 51,000 Rural Interstate I95 over Mingo Swamp
Buncombe 1968 51,000 Urban other principal arterial US19,23 over I-240,Off Ramps
Forsyth 1953 48,000 Urban freeway/expressway I40 Bus over Salem Creek
Cabarrus 1968 39,500 Urban Interstate I85 NBL over Irish Buffalo Creek
Cabarrus 1968 39,500 Urban Interstate I85 SBL over Irish Buffalo Creek
Wake 1937 37,000 Urban other principal arterial US401 over Crabtree Creek
Iredell 1973 37,000 Rural Interstate I77 over Fifth Creek
Type of Bridge Number of Bridges Area of All Bridges
(sq. meters)
Daily Crossings on All Bridges Number of Structurally Deficient Bridges Area of Structurally Deficient Bridges
(sq. meters)
Daily Crossings on Structurally Deficient Bridges
Rural Interstate 335 297,322 6,356,350 10 9,936 261,000
Rural arterial 895 1,028,457 7,751,889 37 78,114 337,700
Rural minor arterial 691 479,095 3,857,246 54 118,775 286,250
Rural major collector 1,780 920,324 4,794,271 198 203,535 529,131
Rural minor collector 1,404 468,662 1,945,939 176 41,588 200,078
Rural local road 7,022 1,413,279 3,620,475 946 135,103 416,883
Urban Interstate 887 1,258,596 34,099,849 27 23,949 1,178,750
Urban freeway/expressway 670 1,037,623 14,941,035 37 33,633 1,254,250
Urban other principal arterial 862 914,395 15,265,690 69 78,116 1,114,500
Urban minor arterial 1,033 941,187 12,159,270 72 100,579 748,805
Urban collector 1,009 593,248 5,938,915 96 40,621 488,790
Urban local road 1,789 641,817 5,618,995 149 46,220 424,523
Total 18,377 9,994,006 116,349,924 1,871 910,169 7,240,660
Type of Work Number of Bridges Cost to Repair
(in millions)
Daily Crossings Area of Bridges
(sq. meters)
Bridge replacement 1,379 $888 4,083,550 676,273
Widening & rehabilitation 0 $0 0 0
Rehabilitation 4,703 $1,015 30,184,295 2,517,084
Deck rehabilitation/replacement 0 $0 0 0
Other structural work 166 $4 183,172 49,282
Total 6,248 $1,906 34,451,017 3,242,639

About the data:

Data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) National Bridge Inventory (NBI), released March 15, 2019. Note that specific conditions on bridges may have changed as a result of recent work or updated inspections.

Effective January 1, 2018, FHWA changed the definition of structurally deficient as part of the final rule on highway and bridge performance measures, published May 20, 2017 pursuant to the 2012 federal aid highway bill Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Two measures that were previously used to classify bridges as structurally deficient are no longer used. This includes bridges where the overall structural evaluation was rated in poor or worse condition, or where the adequacy of waterway openings was insufficient.

The new definition limits the classification to bridges where one of the key structural elements—the deck, superstructure, substructure or culverts, are rated in poor or worse condition. During inspection, the conditions of a variety of bridge elements are rated on a scale of 0 (failed condition) to 9 (excellent condition). A rating of 4 is considered “poor” condition.

Cost estimates have been derived by ARTBA, based on 2017 average bridge replacement costs for structures on and off the National Highway System, published by FHWA. Bridge rehabilitation costs are estimated to be 68 percent of replacement costs. A bridge is considered to need repair if the structure has identified repairs as part of the NBI, a cost estimate is supplied by the bridge owner or the bridge is classified as structurally deficient.

Bridges are classified by FHWA into types based on the functional classification of the roadway on the bridge. Interstates comprise routes officially designated by the Secretary of Transportation. Other principal arterials serve major centers of urban areas or provide mobility through rural areas. Freeways and expressways have directional lanes generally separated by a physical barrier, and access/egress points generally limited to on- and off-ramps. Minor arterials serve smaller areas and are used for trips of moderate length. Collectors funnel traffic from local roads to the arterial network; major collectors have higher speed limits and traffic volumes and are longer in length and spaced at greater intervals, while minor collectors are shorter and provide service to smaller communities. Local roads do not carry through traffic and are intended for short distance travel.

from 14 in 2017

in the nation in % of structurally deficient bridges

1. Rhode Island 23.1%
11. Michigan 10.7%
12. North Carolina 10.2%
13. New York 10.0%

from 6 in 2017

in the nation in # of structurally deficient bridges

1. Iowa 4,675
5. Missouri 2,116
6. North Carolina 1,871
7. California 1,812
Full State Ranking

  • Source: Bridge data is from the 2018 National Bridge Inventory ASCII files, released by the Federal Highway Administration on March 14, 2019. Note that specific conditions on bridges may have changed as a result of recent work. ARTBA is a non-partisan federation whose primary goal is to aggressively grow and protect transportation infrastructure investment to meet the public and business demand for safe and efficient travel.
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