PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The annual report card of Oregon’s bridges was released earlier this week and it shows a decline in bridge conditions for the 10th straight year.

The review, composed by the Oregon Department of Transportation, came just days before a four-lane bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh Friday.

“We do need to invest more in our existing infrastructure to make sure that what happened in Pittsburgh doesn’t happen elsewhere,” said Mike Pullen, a spokesperson with Multnomah County.

Multnomah County officials say the bridges in the county aren’t as bad as the Sellwood Bridge was when it was given a 2 out of 100 rating before being replaced years ago. All four Willamette River bridges in downtown Portland score below average on the bridge suffiency rating.

On a scale from 1 to 100, here are the four bridge’s sufficiency ratings:

  • Broadway Bridge: 42.1.
  • Burnside Bridge: 33
  • Morrision Bridge: 27.6
  • Hawthorne Bridge is 26.4

The county says a low number doesn’t mean immediate catastrophe because the score includes some non-structural criteria, like low overhead clearance from being built for horse-drawn carriages and the first automobiles.

Because their scores are below 50, however, all four of these bridges qualify for federal replacement funds, county officials said.

In Multnomah County, replacing the Burnside Bridge with a new earthquake-ready bridge is priority No. 1. The county hopes to begin construction in 2025 and have it completed by the end of 2029 if it can get enough funding.

“The risk of a big earthquake is really only from the 1980s has it been known and much of our infrastructure was built before then,” Pullen said.

By law, all publicly used bridges have to be inspected structurally every two years by an independent inspector.

“Inspections should give viewers a sense of confidence that other than an earthquake, which we can’t predict, bridge collapses for other reasons are really, really rare,” Pullen said.

ODOT said in 2021, 40 of the bridges it oversees were in “poor” condition and in need of improvements or replacing. The overwhelming majority are rated fair.

“Our bridge inspectors and our crews are out there working to keep bridges safe,” said Katherine Benenati with ODOT. “Just because a bridge is rated poor does not mean it’s unsafe. If we find a condition that would make a bridge unsafe, we would close that bridge.”

Over half of the bridges in service today were designed before 1970 and ODOT said older bridges weren’t designed to carry the traffic volumes and weights of larger vehicles common today.

ODOT said it’s managing its poor bridges “reasonably well,” but that the number of bridges moving from good condition to fair condition shows they can’t keep up with the maintenance required to keep bridges in good condition.

In the last two years, 53 bridges in Oregon had declining overall condition ratings compared to 25 bridges with improving condition ratings.

Most of the state’s 2,700 bridges are now at or exceeding their life expectancy — 800 of them are more than 60 years old.