The study analyzed the age and upkeep of the state’s roads, bridges, dams and highway spending.
Aaron Granquist, a civil engineer with H.R. Green, says county-maintained rural bridges connecting farmland to metro areas are the most vulnerable.
“They just don’t have quite as much funding as the Iowa DOT or cities to address these bridges,” Granquist says, “so those county rural bridges are really what brings the overall score down.”
Granquist says Iowa ranks higher in other more comprehensive reports, but he says a recent raise in the state’s gas tax isn’t enough to offset years of what he calls deferred maintenance of public infrastructure.
“You’ll see a sign leading to one of these rural bridges that says you can’t go over this with more than 10,000 pounds or whatever,” Granquist says. “That’s some of the ways of trying to reduce the risk associated with those bridges, but you know you really need to make sure that the funding gets to the county level.”
Granquist says the 2015 boost in the state’s gas tax will help fund improvements, but he says it’s not enough to keep up with what he calls decades of deferred maintenance.
He made his comments on the Iowa Public Radio program, River to River.
Thanks to Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio