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SOUTHERN TIER (WBNG) — Crossing a bridge safely is something hundreds of thousands of people do every day here in the Southern Tier, but a 12 News Digging Deeper investigation found this isn’t something we should take for granted.

According to the federal government, there are 1,372 bridges in our area. Of those bridges, 375 qualify for federal repair funding (about 27%), and 51 of them qualify for federal replacement funding (about 4 percent, or 1 in 25).

This data comes from the 2017 National Bridge Inventory, which is an annual report issued by the National Highway Administration.

These scores are determined using a system known as a sufficiency rating, which rates bridges on a scale from 0 to 100. A score of 0 means the bridge is wholly deficient, while a score of 100 corresponds to a brand new bridge built to today’s engineering standards.

Any bridge that scores an 80 or below qualifies for federal repair, and a score of 50 or below qualifies for federal replacement.

The problem with this standard is the federal government is switching away from it and it is unclear what will replace it. The New York State Department of Transportation said it uses a scale from 1-7 to rate bridges, with 1 being very deficient to 7 being perfect. However, these two scales do not directly correspond.

Residents who spoke to 12 News said they were frustrated by a perceived lack of governmental action.

“Does misery love company, yes and no, because if the problem isn’t just you and it’s bigger, where are you in the queue for correcting the problem?” said Ann Townsend-Pors, whose house is at the end of the worst bridge rated as the worst in Tioga County.

At a public meeting held by the New York State Minority Task Force on Critical Infrastructure and Transportation in September, more than a dozen commissioners of public works from local municipalities across the Southern Tier said the largest problem they face is funding. Bridges in New York are mainly funded through state grants. One problem is that a single bridge costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, and replacing just one bridge can be a too large of a financial burden for a town to bear.

Even when a bridge qualifies for federal aid, the local municipalities must match the amount the federal government puts in, creating a non-sustainable cycle.

Other problems include confusion on who owns several of the bridges, flooding that worsens the condition of the bridges, and political sparring over how much to allocate toward repairing infrastructure.

New York State Assemblyman Clifford Crouch (R) said that infrastructure isn’t a partisan issue but rather a regional one; Upstate politicians tend to push for more funding, while politicians based near New York City see it as not their problem, according to Crouch.

We have been extremely fortunate here in the Southern Tier to avoid any major bridge collapses. It’s very important to note the DOT says every bridge is inspected at least once every two years, and that if a bridge is in use, it is safe.

Here is a list of the 51 bridges who rated at a 50 or below, broken down by county and in order from worst to best.

Key: ADT stands for average daily traffic, YB stands for the year it was built, TIC stands for how many thousands of dollars replacing the bridge would cost, and SR is the bridge’s sufficiency rating.

Total # of bridges: 1,372 (460 in Broome, 256 in Chenango, 448 in Delaware, 218 in Tioga)

Total # of bridges qualify for repair: 375 (131 in Broome, 63 in Chenango, 126 in Delaware, 55 in Tioga) 27.33 percent

Total # of bridges qualify for replacement: 51 (9 in Broome, 6 in Chenango, 17 in Delaware, 19 in Tioga) 3.72 percent

Total average daily traffic (ADT): 112,365 vehicles

Total traffic per year: 41,041,316.25 vehicles

Total Improvement Cost: $76,244,000

Nine bridges in Broome County qualify for replacement:

Otselic River-Upper Lisle Road, Lisle- ADT 246, YB 1902, TIC 5521, SR 13.2
Fuller Hollow Cr.-Washington, JC- ADT 1280, YB 1961, TIC 142, SR 35.8
Susquehanna River-Exchange Street, Bing- ADT 9030, YB 1901, TIC 5546, SR 44.5
Chenango River-Rte 79- ADT 1122, YB 1936, TIC 19536, SR 44.8
Little Choconut Creek- Lower Stella Ireland Rd, JC- ADT 2210, YB 1942, TIC 97, SR 45.3
Trb E B Nan Creek- Rte 26- ADT 2947, YB 1938, TIC 697, SR 47.1
Tracy Creek-Owego Road, Vestal- ADT 1608, YB 1935, TIC 2609, SR 47.4
Acre Creek-Rte 1, Bing- ADT 15620, YB 1947, TIC 675, SR 49.0
West Creek-Rte 26- ADT 7752, YB 1969, TIC 2488, SR 49.8

Total ADT: 41,815 vehicles

Per year: 15,272,928.75 vehicles

Total Improvement Cost: $37,311,000

Six bridges in Chenango County qualify for replacement:

Ludlow Creek-Tucker Road, McDonough- ADT 8, YB 1935, TIC 369, SR 17.9
Guilford Creek-Ives Settlement Road, Guilford- ADT 223, YB 1969, TIC 35, SR 24.2
Birdsall Brook-Birdsall Street, Greene- ADT 4, YB 1930, TIC 189, SR 32.8
Yaleville Brook- County Road 38, Bainbridge- ADT 1108, YB 1935, TIC 316, SR 45.5
Lyon Brook-County Road 32, Oxford- ADT 3022, YB 1955, TIC 79, SR 48
Cornell Creek-Rte 41- ADT 1513, YB 1934, TIC 595, SR 49.4

Total ADT: 5,878 vehicles

Per year: 2,146,939.5 vehicles

Total Improvement Cost: $1,583,000

17 bridges in Delaware County qualify for replacement

W BR Delaware River-Fitches Bridge Road, Delhi- ADT 232, YB 1870, TIC 465, SR 0
E BR Delaware River-Bridge Street, Downsville- ADT 0, YB 1857, TIC 425 SR 19
W BR Delaware River-Basin Clove Road, Hamden- ADT 225, YB 1869, TIC 189, SR 19.3
E BR Delaware River-Corbett Road, Colchester- ADT 473, YB 1926, TIC 2147, SR 34
Bull Run Stream-Swart Street, Margaretville- ADT 0, YB 1931, TIC 909, SR 37
Telford Hollow Brook, County Road 26, Downsville- ADT 1115, YB 1954, TIC 239, SR 40.4
West Brook-Bob Gould Road- ADT 29, YB 1975, TIC 46, SR 43.5
Town Brook-Clove Road, Hobart- ADT 152, YB 1955, TIC 257, SR 46.4
E BR Cold Spring Creek-Mills Road, Stilesville- ADT 9, YB 1950, TIC 228, SR 47.3
S BR Ouleout Creek-Case Hill Road, Treadwell- ADT 627, YB 1967, TIC 379, SR 47.4
Susquehanna River-Main Street- ADT 6044, YB 1936, TIC 3762, SR 48.4
Russel Brook-DEC access road- ADT 0, YB 2007, TIC 203, SR 48.4
Third Brook-Ogden Street- ADT 615, YB 1997, TIC 49, SR 48.9
Town Brook-Reservoir Road, Hobart- ADT 10, YB 1981, TIC 143, SR 49.2
Jump Brook-Rte 23- ADT 2760, YB 1931, TIC 605, SR 49.8
Falls Creek-Rte 28- ADT 3101, YB 1936, TIC 3046, SR 49.9
W Settlement Creek-County Road 41, Roxbury- ADT 483, YB 1961, TIC 421, SR 49.9

Total ADT: 15,875 vehicles

Per year: 5,798,343.75 vehicles

Total Improvement Cost: $13,513,000

19 bridges in Tioga County qualify for replacement:

Little Nanticoke Creek-Youngs Road, Owego- ADT 10, YB 1972, TIC 441, SR 20
Owego Creek-Park Settlement Road, Catatonk- ADT 342, YB 1976, TIC 125, SR 20.8
Nieger Hollow Creek-Diamond Valley Road, Smithboro- ADT 281, YB 1940, TIC 526, SR 29.4
Cayuta Creek-Rte 17c- ADT 3896, YB 1929, TIC 3523, SR 30.4
E BR Owego Creek-Brown Road, Berkshire- ADT 290, YB 1958, TIC 406, SR 30.6
Pumpelly Creek-Valley Road, Owego- ADT 165, YB 1930, TIC 307, SR 30.8
South Hill Creek-South Hill Road, Spencer- ADT 88, YB 1935, TIC 396, SR 33.9
Cayuta Creek-Rte 34, Waverly- ADT 5701, YB 1939, TIC 8111, SR 34.1
MP 274.41 NOR SOU-Rte 34, Waverly-ADT 5701, YB 1938, TIC 1166, SR 34.1
E BR Owego Creek-Rte 38, Richford- ADT 3497, YB 1959, TIC 3281, SR 36.2
Miller Creek-Fisher Settlement, Spencer- ADT 328, YB 1984, TIC 474, SR 37.5
Pumpelly Creek-Valley Road, Owego- ADT 165, YB 1930, TIC 1465, SR 38.3
Prospect Valley Creek-Prospect Valley Road, Candor- ADT 317, YB 1980, TIC 488 SR 39.4
Sacketts Creek-Rte 282- ADT 6308, YB 1946, TIC 1096, SR 40.6
Long Creek-Long Creek Road, Apalachin- ADT 374, YB 1979, TIC 72, SR 40.6
Pumpelly Creek-Valley Road, Owego- ADT 165, YB 1930, TIC 485, SR 43
Berkshire Creek-Rte 38, Berkshire- ADT 3497, YB 1930, TIC 755, SR 45.5
Diamond Valley Creek-Diamond Valley Road, Tioga Center- ADT 281, YB 1983, TIC 603, SR 47.9
Dry Brook Creek-Rte 17, Waverly- ADT 17391, YB 1973, TIC 117, SR 48.3

Total ADT: 48,797 vehicles

Per year: 17,823,104. 25 vehicles

Total Improvement Cost: $23,837,000

Josh Rosenblatt

Josh Rosenblatt

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