More Than 50,000 American Bridges Are Crumbling

I35 Mississippi River Bridge Collapse, 2007.Screengrab/nysfire91/YouTube

President Trump is expected to address America's aging infrastructure during his State of the Union address.

According to a new report, more than 50,000 bridges around the United States pose a hazard to to people and vehicles as they continue in a crumbling state of disrepair.

Using government data, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association compiled a report showing that 54,259 American bridges are "structurally deficient."

So many bridges are in need of repair, says the report, that if placed end-to-end they'd stretch nearly from New York City to Miami. And experts say that at the current rate of repair or replacement it would take 37 years to fix all the bridges.

NBC found incidents in Florida, Georgia, Michigan and other states where pieces of bridge fell to the road, and in some cases hit vehicles below.

In Utah, driver Mike Peterson escaped serious injury when a chunk of a bridge smashed through his windshield as he drove underneath

"Another six to eight inches, you might not be talking to me today," said Peterson.

Dr. Alison Black, author of the ARTBA report, said the fault lies in "a failure of leadership in Congress to address some of these issues and provide additional funding".

Late Monday, an official from the Federal Highway Administration told NBC News in a statement, "ARTBA's report, which relies on data from FHWA, underscores the need for investment in our nation's infrastructure. It also highlights the importance of streamlining the permitting process, so that the projects that are funded can move forward without undue delay. The Department of Transportation looks forward to continuing our work with state and local interests to revitalize the nation's roads and highways, offering improved safety, new jobs, and a better quality of life for the American people."

President Donald Trump is expected to speak to the issue of infrastructure during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.