Inspectors making sure bridges are safe to cross - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Inspectors making sure bridges are safe to cross

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The state inspected more than 2,000 bridges between July 2014 and June 2015. The state inspected more than 2,000 bridges between July 2014 and June 2015.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Infrastructure isn’t always on the top of everyone’s minds. But for Betty Bates, it is. “I am a little afraid of them. There are a lot of aging bridges,” she says. 

They’re what we drive on and Bates is concerned about everyone. She remembers when the Skagit Bridge collapsed.

“It doesn't look like one that would come down, but because someone hit it, it did,” she says.

But that's what bridge inspectors are here to prevent. They regularly inspect bridges and safety is of utmost importance.

“We won't hesitate to close it if we think there's a problem,” says Greg Siepel, a WSDOT regional bridge inspection engineer.

Siepel is at the Deep Creek bridge, checking everything underneath. They mainly look at three things: maintenance, traffic, and structural conditions. The state inspected more than 2,000 bridges between July 2014 and June 2015 and they have a little more than 40 trained engineers and technicians to work on these bridges.

But a problem they’ve seen has been with posted limits.

“The posted limits that we put on bridges aren't just convenient suggestions. A lot of times they get treated that way. Other times I guess people just miss them,” Siepel says.

All of those restrictions are posted on the road and on WSDOT’s website. But when they’re not followed, that's how some bridges can end up being damaged by a truck getting stuck underneath. This is something Bates doesn’t like seeing, so she has a suggestion.

“I would like to see more people follow the rules on the bridges about the weight limits and the height limits,” she says.

If you see anything that concerns you while on the road, you can always get in touch with WSDOT here: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Maintenance/Contacts/ContactUs.htm.

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