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Health, Science & Environment

Report Card Gives Utah's Public Infrastructure Average Score

Gruber.jpg
Whittney Evans
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Andrew Gruber with Wasatch Front Regional Council.

The American Society of Engineers has given Utah’s public infrastructure a C+. The group’s 2015 report card shows the state could better prepare for earthquakes and climate change.

Utah’s transportation infrastructure got the highest marks. Roads, transit and bridges all got a B+. While canals and levees received D’s. David W. Eckoff is with the ASCE. He’s the project director for the Utah report card and says the Wasatch Front faces $60 billion in damage should a major earthquake occur.

“Out of site out of mind is not a good way to plan for seismic risk.”

Eckoff says that could be prevented with investments in seismic upgrades.

“All of our major water supply lines either come across the Wasatch Fault or right along,” Eckoff says. “You tell me.”

Utah’s population is expected to double over the next three decades. Eckoff says the increased demand for water and a shrinking snowpack associated with climate change will also require extraordinary planning and research. 

Andrew Gruber is with the Wasatch Front Regional Council. He says while Utah did well in the transportation category, the state cannot rest on its laurels.

“As we grow and as our existing infrastructure continues to age we’re at a tipping point between playing catchup and maintaining sound stewardship,” Gruber says.

According the report, less than 3 percent of Utah’s bridges are structurally deficient, but about a third of all bridges will age out by the end of this decade. In addition, local roads are receiving less maintenance than needed as costs rise and roads age. 

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