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Becker highway engineer says bridges safe, inspected every year
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Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

The bridges of Becker County are safe and are inspected every year, said Highway Engineer Brad Wentz.

There are 67 county and township bridges in Becker County, not counting state highways, but most are actually box culverts and culverts, Wentz said.

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"Anything over 10 feet is considered a bridge that we do inspections on," he said. Long Bridge in Detroit Lakes and the bridge over the railroad tracks in Lake Park are two of the county's busiest bridges.

The county website has a map that shows all bridges and lists deficiencies. It also lists the five-year highway plan and shows which roads and bridges are due for upgrades or replacement.

The county uses state bridge funds to repair and replace bridges.

"We've been trying to do two to three a year," Wentz said. "If we can do that and stay on track, we're looking good."

But if bridge bonding funds aren't available, as has been the case in the not-so-recent past, the county gets backed up. That can result in load restrictions or bridge closures. Right now there are four bridges with load restrictions, but none with critical deficiencies that require immediate work, he said.

"I'd say all bridges are safe in the county and they are inspected every year," he said. "But it does bring to light the lack of transportation funding -- we can't just keep pushing it back, you get a huge need that can't be done all at the same time."

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