Hearing that twenty-one hundred bridges in Wisconsin are deficient doesn't mean they're ready to collapse.
There are degrees of deficiency according to UW-Madison Civil Engineering professor Mike Oliva. And, he says, that doesn't mean a bridge declared deficient is necessarily ready to collapse. It could mean inspectors need to take a closer look to see what's going on and keep close track of it.
And depending on the exact deficiency rating, there's a difference between immediate repair and immediate attention. Sometimes, Oliva says, it just requires inspecting the bridge with high tech equipment to confirm what may be noticed during a visual inspection.
Overall, Oliva says Wisconsin gets good marks for its bridge work. He says the state has done quite a bit over the past decade to lower the number of "deficient" bridges and is well below the national average.