HOUSTON (KTRK) --More than 120,000 drivers a day travel the Interstate 45 bridge heading south over Rayford and Sawdust, but the bridge has problems that extend beyond the heavy traffic.
According to a recent study by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, it is the most traveled bridge in Texas.
The bridge also carries the designation of 'structurally deficient' from TxDOT. The northbound 45 bridge over White Oak Bayou is on the list, in addition to others throughout our area.
"It's possible that it could be unsafe, if it's not up to standard," said driver Kvondre Tinner, who lives nearby in The Woodlands.
While structurally deficient bridges are still driveable, University of Houston engineering professor Y.L. Mo says the designation means the bridges need serious attention.
"When we say deficient, that means already damaged. The structural bridge is already damaged, and if we don't repair it gets worse and worse," said Mo.
He says Texas is in better shape than many states and that bridges are inspected annually in a search for cracks and damage. Drivers we talked to say they expect more from their tax dollars at work.
"We pay a lot of taxes already, I would say they can pay for it," said driver Yuri Rodriguez.
A 2016 TxDOT Report on Texas Bridges outlines the challenges, saying in part,"Demand is outpacing funding. Factors including inflation, a growing population, an aging infrastructure, and more fuel-efficient vehicles-which provide environmental benefits but result in less revenue from the motor fuel tax."
A list of bridges in our area that were part of the ARTBA study is available here.