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Some of Utah's Bridges Deemed "Structurally Deficient"

Some of Utah's Bridges Deemed "Structurally Deficient"

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Sarah Dallof ReportingThe bridge disaster in Minneapolis has people everywhere taking a closer look at their bridges. As engineers in Minnesota continue to investigate the cause of a catastrophic and deadly bridge collapse, engineers in Utah vow to prevent the same from happening here.

President Bush visited the disaster scene in Minneapolis today, promising to cut through government red tape to get it rebuilt as quickly as possible. Investigators are also narrowing down possible causes by studying the debris and watching video of the collapse.

In Utah the Department of Transportation is bringing in extra help to examine hundreds of questionable bridges. UDOT and the Deseret Morning News identified a bridge in Sandy as one with structural safety risks two years ago. Because of a lack of funding it hasn't been fixed. It's one of hundreds of bridges being carefully looked at following the collapse in Minnesota.

UDOT has developed a list of 100 bridges that are right now considered "structurally deficient." Another 100 bridges have been added to that list; those are bridges with unique shapes like arches or bridges with unique truss construction.

UDOT will begin the inspections next week when the final, complete list is out but says it will take time to complete.

Nile Easton, spokesman for UDOT, says, "We have 2,700 in the state. To do even 200 that quick will take a lot of time, so we'll have teams of bridge engineers going around. We'll probably bring in some outside specialists that know these unique bridges I talked about, the arch bridges, so we'll get some help that way as well."

The words "structurally deficient" sound pretty scary, but UDOT says there's no need to panic, they're still safe and are routinely inspected every two years.

The unique bridges to be inspected are some of Utah's most beautiful, like the Virgin Arch Bridge in Hurricane.

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