U.S. House committee to address bridge safety, improvements

| 9/17/2007

Improving the nation’s bridges to avoid catastrophic failures like the Aug. 1 bridge collapse in Minneapolis is the subject of a hearing scheduled for this week by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology.

The committee is scheduled to meet from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Sept. 19, on Capitol Hill to discuss bridge design and testing with transportation and engineering officials.

“The challenge for policymakers at the state, local and federal level is to determine which bridges are the highest priority for repairs given limited funding,” committee members wrote in the hearing summary called “Bridge Safety: Next Steps to Protect the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation released statistics earlier this summer stating that 73,764 bridges in the United States were structurally deficient – in need of repair or replacement.

On the list to address the committee’s concerns are Dennis Judycki, associate administrator with the Federal Highway Administration; Benjamin Tang, a top engineer with FHWA’ bridge technology division; Kevin Womack, engineering professor and director of the Utah Transportation Center; Harry Lee James, chief engineer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation; and Mark Bernhardt, director of the engineering firm Burgess& Niple.

The hearing was rescheduled for Wednesday after first being scheduled for Sept. 11. To read the committee’s hearing summary, click here.