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A quarter of U.S. bridges found lacking

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- About 25 percent of U.S. bridges have been identified as "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete" by federal highway inspectors.

The bridge that collapsed in Minnesota Wednesday was labeled structurally deficient by the Federal Highway Administration.

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The collapse, which left at least five people dead and dozens missing or injured, focused new attention on the bridge inspection program.

Casey Dinges of the American Society of Civil Engineers said "structurally deficient" and "functionally obsolete" are technical labels.

"Neither one means failure is imminent or that your life is in danger or that you should be afraid to get in your car," he told CNN. "That said, we still have pretty serious concerns about the overall state of the nation's infrastructure."

The U.S. Transportation Department's inspector general and the National Transportation Safety Board are looking at the inspection program, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

"They may well have been doing everything that has been prescribed in the national bridge inspection program. That may well not be enough," NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker told reporters, the Pioneer Press reported. "There may be some failures in the reporting system that was done here in Minneapolis."

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