National Bridge Inventory: North Carolina



  • Of the 18,749 bridges in the state, 1,460, or 7.8 percent, are classified as structurally deficient. This means one of the key elements is in poor or worse condition.
  • This is down from 1,764 bridges classified as structurally deficient in 2016.
  • The deck area of structurally deficient bridges accounts for 6.6 percent of total deck area on all structures.
  • 37 of the structurally deficient bridges are on the Interstate Highway System. A total of 90.3 percent of the structurally deficient bridges are not on the National Highway System, which includes the Interstate and other key roads linking major airports, ports, rail and truck terminals.
  • 2,551 bridges are posted for load, which may restrict the size and weight of vehicles crossing the structure.
  • The state has identified needed repairs on 5,680 bridges at an estimated cost of $3.7 billion.
  • This compares to 1,931 bridges that needed work in 2016.

County Year Built Daily Crossings Type of Bridge Location
Wake 1982 118,000 Urban Interstate I40 over Walnut Creek
Wake 1986 115,000 Urban Interstate I40 over Big Branch Creek
Mecklenburg 1971 110,000 Urban Interstate I277 & NC16 over US29/Nc49 (Graham St.)
Mecklenburg 1967 86,000 Urban Interstate I277 & NC16 over Brevard Street
Mecklenburg 1967 86,000 Urban Interstate I277 & NC16 over North College Street
Wake 1960 86,000 Urban Interstate I-440 over Sr37 & Southern RR
Forsyth 1964 74,000 Urban freeway/expressway US52 over 28th Street
Forsyth 1964 74,000 Urban freeway/expressway US52 over 25th Street
Forsyth 1958 73,000 Urban freeway/expressway I40 Bus over Brushy Fork Creek
Gaston 1962 70,000 Rural Interstate I85 over Abernathy Creek
Wake 1961 69,000 Urban other principal arterial US1, US401 over Marsh Creek
Forsyth 1960 55,000 Urban freeway/expressway US421 over Little Creek
Durham 1960 55,000 Urban Interstate I85,US15 over Goose Creek
Forsyth 1959 53,500 Urban freeway/expressway Nc67 over I40 Bus
Buncombe 1968 51,000 Urban other principal arterial US19,23 over I-240,Off Ramps
Wake 1946 51,000 Urban other principal arterial US1 over Perry Creek
Forsyth 1953 48,000 Urban freeway/expressway I40 Bus over Salem Creek
New Hanover 1985 48,000 Rural arterial I40,US117,Nc132 over Smith Creek
Harnett 1965 45,000 Urban Interstate I95 over Stoney Run
Iredell 1973 37,000 Rural Interstate I77 over Fifth Creek
Wake 1959 36,000 Urban minor arterial SR1010 Center St. over US1
Buncombe 1963 36,000 Urban Interstate I-26 WBL over Sr3495
Cumberland 1940 35,000 Urban minor arterial SR1414 over Branson Creek
Durham 1956 34,000 Urban freeway/expressway US15/US501NBL over SR1308
Guilford 1981 34,000 Urban Interstate I85 SBL over Richland 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 337 300,672 6,820,425 13 12,615 343,500
Rural arterial 931 1,090,505 8,507,056 30 63,581 342,100
Rural minor arterial 697 495,554 3,899,656 49 117,734 256,950
Rural major collector 1,771 940,723 4,891,652 139 117,575 384,421
Rural minor collector 1,406 470,941 1,971,464 127 30,652 130,070
Rural local road 7,103 1,456,388 3,810,850 731 101,378 298,190
Urban Interstate 949 1,461,133 36,487,046 24 21,944 1,128,750
Urban freeway/expressway 703 1,101,726 15,361,667 33 26,085 933,750
Urban other principal arterial 894 961,928 16,007,354 46 43,209 852,000
Urban minor arterial 1,066 968,628 12,777,968 55 79,320 630,380
Urban collector 1,047 615,923 6,213,237 69 33,667 382,610
Urban local road 1,845 648,641 5,709,296 144 37,725 363,693
Total 18,749 10,512,761 122,457,671 1,460 685,485 6,046,414
Type of Work Number of Bridges Cost to Repair
(in millions)
Daily Crossings Area of Bridges
(sq. meters)
Bridge replacement 840 $680 2,484,694 423,115
Widening & rehabilitation 0 $0 0 0
Rehabilitation 4,630 $2,918 32,078,061 2,669,320
Deck rehabilitation/replacement 0 $0 0 0
Other structural work 210 $54 287,838 49,273
Total 5,680 $3,652 34,850,593 3,141,708

About the data:

Data is from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) National Bridge Inventory (NBI), downloaded on March 11, 2021. Note that specific conditions on bridges may have changed as a result of recent work or updated inspections. Cost estimates were downloaded by ARTBA on March 11, 2021.

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 2019 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 repair cost estimate is supplied by the bridge owner or the bridge is classified as structurally deficient. Please note that for a few states, the number of bridges needing to be repaired can vary significantly from year to year, and reflects the data entered by the state.

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.

21
Compared to 12 in 2019

in the nation in % of structurally deficient bridges

1. West Virginia 21.2%
20. South Carolina 7.9%
21. North Carolina 7.8%
22. New Jersey 7.4%

10
Compared to 6 in 2019

in the nation in # of structurally deficient bridges

1. Iowa 4,571
9. California 1,536
10. North Carolina 1,460
11. Mississippi 1,386

22
Compared to 11 in 2019

in the nation in % of structurally deficient bridge deck area

1. Rhode Island 21.0%
21. Washington 7.0%
22. North Carolina 7.0%
23. California 7.0%
Full State Ranking

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  • Source: Data is from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) National Bridge Inventory (NBI), downloaded on March 11, 2021. Note that specific conditions on bridges may have changed as a result of recent work or updated inspections.

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