Civil engineers give Virginia a grade of C- on infrastructure
Virginia’s infrastructure is aging and, in some cases, is close to failing, according to a new report from some of the state’s civil engineers. The Virginia Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released a report Tuesday, the 2015 Report Card for Virginia’s Infrastructure, that assessed ten infrastructure categories. Overall, Virginia came in with a grade of C-.
The state’s roads received the lowest grades, with a D, while solid waste earned the highest grade of B-.
Bridges got a grade of C, with 1,186 of Virginia’s 13,765 bridges, or 8.6 percent considered structurally deficient while 2,402, or 17.4 percent, are considered functionally obsolete.
While this year’s cumulative grade represents a slight improvement from the 2009 report’s “D+” average, the findings show that Virginia is barely keeping pace with maintaining aging infrastructure. Among the report’s key findings:
· Virginia has the third largest state roadway system in the nation, with the system growing by 14 percent over the last 35 years. However in the Washington, D.C./Va./Md. Region — considered the second worst for traffic congestion in the country — the average motorist experienced 74 hours of travel delay annually.
· More than 30 percent of the commonwealth’s bridges are more than 50 years old. By comparison, the national average age for bridges is 42 years.
· About 45 percent of the state’s high-hazard dams, or 141, if breeched, could result in loss-of-life or property damage. · Virginia’s water systems will require nearly a $6.1 billion investment over the next 20 years as many of the drinking water systems are approaching 70 years old. The wastewater systems will require an even larger investment of $6.8 billion.
· By 2020, an estimated 45 percent of the water and sewer pipes in Virginia may need major renovation or replacement.
· More than 60 percent of school facilities are older than 40 years, and estimated renovation costs have more than doubled in recent years, exceeding $18 billion.
“Safe roads and bridges, schools and parks that are well maintained, and modernized water and wastewater systems all contribute to the economy and make Virginia such a great place to live, raise a family, or own a business,” Don Rissmeyer, report card chair for the Virginia section of ASCE, said in a statement. “Upgrading our infrastructure will prepare us for future growth, and create jobs in the process, further strengthening Virginia’s economy.”
Using publicly available data, a team of engineers assessed the 10 sectors of infrastructure. They looked at the reported condition of existing assets, expected service life, current functionality and level of service, future growth needs and anticipated level of funding required to maintain structures.
The grades for the categories were:
Bridges (C), dams (C), drinking water (C), parks and recreation (C+), roads (D), rail and transit (C-), schools (C-), solid Waste (B-), stormwater (C-), and wastewater (D+).
The engineers’ group created the Virginia Report Card as a public service for citizens and elected officials to help inform them of Virginia’s infrastructure needs and to continue a dialogue that began with the first ASCE Virginia Infrastructure Report Card in 2009.
State level report cards are modeled after the national 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which gave America’s infrastructure a grade of D+.
To view the full Virginia report card, visit http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/virginia.