Inspecting Bridges in Northeast Indiana

By Rachel Bennett Steury
Oct 30 2014 |

Local inquiring mind and resident 12-year-old sleuth Jayzen White is one smart cookie. 

When she learned that more than 150,000 bridges in the United States were structurally deficient and in need of repair, Jayzen took matters into her own hands. 

Just how many bridges were dangerous in Northeast Indiana? How many people still drive over bridges that are in need of repair? 

Jayzen set out to see just how bad things were in her area with a road trip accompanied by her aunt (that’s me!), a camera and a map. 

After investigating several local bridges, Jayzen was stunned at the lack of care we’ve put into our infrastructure. The Black Creek Bridge was built in 1920 and looked like it hadn’t been touched since.  The Willow Creek Bridge hadn’t been inspected since 2008 and had metal sticking out of the concrete.  Becketts Run Bridge has more than 17,000 cars drive over it daily and is falling apart. The Bullerman Ditch Bridge looked O.K. on the surface, but Jayzen soon discovered that its beauty was only on the surface, as rusted metal and pitted concrete were crumbling into the ditch below.

Armed with her computer and some good old fashioned ingenuity, Jayzen set out to share her findings.  As more investigative reporters like her reveal the truth, we hope Congress sees the urgency to act.

Check out Jayzen’s video:

Editor’s note: As Jayzen’s local investigation shows, it’s sadly easy to find examples of America’s failing infrastructure. More than one in five of America’s bridges are structurally deficient, and the total bridge backlog equaled $106.4 billion in 2010.