VDOT study shows poor bridges in SWVA

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(WDBJ7) A recent V-DOT study found Southwest Virginia is an area with some of the worst bridges in the state. But V-DOT said all are safe to travel on.

There are more than 700 bridges in the viewing area with a rating of 65 or below, meaning grade D and lower.

The number of those bridges are:

- Alleghany County - 14
- Amherst County - 46
- Appomattox County - 10
- Campbell County - 17
- Bath County - 19
- Bedford County - 62
- Bland County - 34
- Botetourt County - 42
- Carroll County - 41
- Craig County - 10
- Floyd County - 20
- Franklin County - 51
- Giles County - 16
- Grayson County - 56
- Halifax County - 16
- Henry County - 24
- Highland County - 16
- Lexington - 1
- Montgomery County - 17
- Nelson County - 38
- Pittsylvania County - 57
- Pulaski County - 12
- Roanoke - 3
- Roanoke County - 20
- Rockbridge County - 28
- Wythe County - 32

The Bristol VDOT District has the most bridges rated D or lower, and the most bridges and culverts in structural deficiency.

Michelle Earl is the VDOT Bristol District Communications Manager.

She explained, "It's simply a numbering system, a ranking system, so that when funding does become available, we're replacing the bridges, we're repairing the bridges that have the most need."

Earl the number is likely so high because of how many total bridges there are in our area.

"That has a lot to do with the geography of our district, it's very mountainous and more bridges are needed," she said.

But despite all the low grade bridges in the area, V-DOT said drivers have no reason to fear going over them.

"If there were issues with a bridge, we would close that bridge," Earl said. "We don't have any bridges open that are of concern of people traveling over them."

I asked Earl how bridges can be repaired and have their ratings increased.

She also said many of the bridges don't need to be replaced to get better scores. Doing work on the deck can be enough to increase the ratings above the that 65 level that can have such a negative connotation.

To see the ratings for each bridge and culvert in the state, click here.

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