How sturdy are our local bridges?

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Some of us... Just don't like going over bridges.

Matthew Emerson explains, "Terrified. My girlfriend is extremely terrified of bridges. When we have to stop on that bridge she starts to scream."

A drive across the Blue Bridge is not fun for Matthew and his family.

He continues, "She's scared bridge is gonna collapse. Just gonna fall."

But is there really reason to worry?
Two Benton County bridges were recently deemed "structurally deficient." One is the Chandler Canal Bridge near Prosser. The state says there's been too much tension on the concrete beams. The other is a crossing of SR 22 over I-82. Both are still open.

"Yeah it's a very uncomfortable feeling."

Here in the Tri-Cities, the Blue Bridge just recently improved its safety rating. All those closures in the fall helped the river crossing go from "functionally obsolete" to "satisfactory." Decades-old expansion joints were replaced. Teresa Anderson has noticed the difference.

"I don't feel any movement in it when I'm going over it, I've gone over a lot of bridges in my life and I've never felt unsafe on the Blue or Cable bridge," Teresa says.

Money for this and other projects has meant other road improvements are on the back burner. The ongoing Highway-12 construction could take even longer than the three-years that have already been underway. A study to add more intersections off Highway-395 is also being put temporarily.

Teresa thinks it's worth it to have safer bridges and appreciates the urgency.

She says, "I think they're pretty darn safe. They're doing a really good job with the maintenance and I hope they keep it up."

We also checked out the rating on the Cable Bridge and it is still considered "satisfactory."