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caption: Loren Wilson, a bridge inspector for the Washington State Department of Transportation, stands beneath the SR 520 floating bridge. Wilson is both an engineer and a diver, so he does both above water and underwater inspections of bridges across the state.
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Loren Wilson, a bridge inspector for the Washington State Department of Transportation, stands beneath the SR 520 floating bridge. Wilson is both an engineer and a diver, so he does both above water and underwater inspections of bridges across the state.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

How safe are the bridges in the Puget Sound region?

There are more than 8,000 bridges in the state of Washington.

Some, like the state Route 520 floating bridge across Lake Washington, are brand new and state-of-the-art. Others, like the Aurora Bridge on state Route 99, are aging and well past their original life expectancy.

332 bridges in the state are rated in "poor" condition, meaning they have advanced deficiencies.

Several listeners want to know: How safe are the region's bridges? And how will they fare if we have a major earthquake?

Watch archival video of the most famous bridge collapse in Washington state history: the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (nicknamed "Galloping Gertie") in 1940

And see what an underwater bridge inspection looks like from the diver's point of view:

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A diver inspects the 1950's-era Northport Bridge over the Columbia River. Inspectors are looking at a repair of previous erosion (scour) beneath the bridge.
Credit: Washington State Department of Transportation

Listen to the episode by clicking the play button above or on your favorite podcast app. SoundQs is a weekly podcast where our KUOW reporters tackle questions submitted by our listeners.

Have a question about the Seattle region for us to answer? Drop it here: