KENNEWICK, Wash.-- The Washington State Department of Transportation and Tri-Cities drivers can feel safe when they drive across our local bridges.
The Blue Bridge and the Cable Bridge both have good condition ratings, but local politicians said Thursday night's I-5 bridge collapse will spark talks in Olympia about our transportation priorities.
"Most of us travel over those bridges if not at least once a day, several times a day. These bridges in the immediate area are all fine. They have decent ratings on them so people need not be worried," said Senator Sharon Brown.
The Columbia River is the center of our community and our bridges connect us.
People can feel safe knowing under the WSDOT rating system, both the Blue Bridge and Cable Bridge qualify in good condition.
Many of our state's bridges are aging, but WSDOT insists regular inspections ensure the public's safety.
"If there's any issue they're inspected more frequently. Right now the Blue Bridge is inspected every two years. There's nothing that needs to be fixed within the next 10 years from what we've seen," said Michael Adams, Washington State Department of Transportation.
Under the department's sufficiency rating, which is one part of the good condition classification, the Blue Bridge has a 60% sufficiency and the Cable Bridge has an 84% sufficiency.
The rating affects federal funding ability. But when it comes to state funding and consideration, Senator Brown says the I-5 bridge collapse will initiate talks on the importance of funding transportation needs.
"It's our responsibility as a legislature to hold WSDOT accountable and make sure that the resources that we're allocating are spent appropriately and that there's appropriate supervision and that the appropriate measures are being taken to make sure that we are safe when we use our bridges and roadways," Brown said.
The Federal Highway Administration requires all state transportation agencies to report state, city and county bridge ratings each year.