Data: Dozens of W.Va. bridges at risk of collapse - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Data: Dozens of W.Va. bridges at risk of collapse

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- State highways officials say West Virginia's bridges are safe despite dozens that are in disrepair and at risk of collapse if hit hard enough in the wrong place.

An Associated Press review of federal records found that 178 West Virginia bridges are classified as "fracture critical" and "structurally deficient." Experts say the combination of red-flag categories is particularly problematic.

The federal government requires states to inspect bridges at least every two years, a mandate inspired by the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge linking Point Pleasant to Ohio that killed 46 people.

West Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Walker says inspections are done more frequently if specific problems or deficiencies are found.

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