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Some Rural Bridges May Not Avoid Collapse

Kansas may have more problem bridges than states like California and Illinois, but state engineers say that doesn't tell the whole story.

According to Federal Highway Administration statistics, 347 bridges out of Kansas's over 25,000 total bridges are in poor condition, and lack the structural redundancies to avoid collapse.

State engineers says most of those are aging, county-owned bridges in rural areas.

Kansas Association of Counties engineer Norman Bowers says most of the state doesn't use those bridges--just farmers and people who live in rural areas.

Bowers says counties struggle to decide whether to fix these bridges when often only 10 people per day use them.

Kansas Department of Transportation's chief bridge engineer Calvin Reed says most of the structurally deficient and fracture critical bridges in the state are in rural areas and not under state supervision.

He estimated that about 1 percent of state-owned bridges fall into both categories, but says the state has adequate resources to address safety concerns.