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Utah Road Officials Say Bridges Are Safe

Utah Road Officials Say Bridges Are Safe

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LAYTON, Utah (AP) -- Utah has one bridge similar to the Minnesota span that collapsed into the Mississippi River, in a remote area of Box Elder County with very little traffic, state officials said.

The disclosure came as officials again insisted the state's 2,800 bridges are in good shape. Six percent are rated poor but that doesn't mean they're risky.

"They're safe bridges," said Carlos Braceras, deputy director of the Utah Department of Transportation. "They're classified as having elements that are structurally deficient, but they are safe."

The deficiencies are usually small, such as potholes, he said.

The Utah Transportation Commission got an update at a meeting Friday in Layton.

Earlier this month, after a Minneapolis bridge collapsed, killing at least 11 people, Gov. Jon Huntsman ordered inspections of Utah's 200 most-traveled bridges. Another 100 have been added to the list.

"We'll have all 300 inspected by the end of October," said Jim McMinimee, UDOT program-development director.

The Utah bridge similar to the Minnesota bridge gets only 20 vehicles a day in Box Elder County.

Utah has 111 bridges deemed "structurally deficient," McMinimee said.

Of those, 32 are being reconstructed, 38 are funded and in design, and 41 still need money.

"That 41 represents $300 million worth of needs," McMinimee said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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