The Worst Bridges in All of Arizona Are in These 5 Counties

Written by Jennifer Geer
Updated: October 25, 2023
Share on:

Advertisement


Arizona bridges are rated in the top ten best shape in the nation according to an annual survey by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). There are 8,497 bridges in the state. Out of these, 107 (1.3%) are rated “poor” in the survey. 

Although Arizona fares better than most other states, there are still bridges in need of repairs. Which are the worst bridges in all of Arizona? Read on for a look at the top five counties with the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in Arizona.

The Condition of America’s Bridges

Bridges in America are in poor shape. One in three bridges in the country needs repairs or replacement. According to ARTBA, 42,400 (6.8%) bridges in the country are in poor condition.

Bridges in poor condition are considered “structurally deficient.” They often require significant maintenance. These bridges are often posted with weight limits but are still considered safe to cross.

The Worst Bridges in All of Arizona Are in These 5 Counties

Arizona’s bridges are in much better shape than most of the country. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the dry and mild climate helps keep bridges in good repair. Also, the state inspects bridges regularly and makes repairs when needed. But there are still bridges that need repair in the state. Following are the five counties with the worst-rated bridges in Arizona.

5: Gila County (3.4% of Bridges Rated Poor)

Tonto Natural Bridge

Located in Gila County is the largest natural travertine bridge in the world, the Tonto Natural Bridge.

©Jason Yoder/Shutterstock.com

Out of Gila County’s 265 bridges, 9 of them are in poor condition. The most traveled structurally deficient bridge in Gila County is the Jesse Hayes Road, which crosses over Pinal Creek and was constructed in 1920. 

Located in central Arizona, Gila County is about two and a half hours east of Phoenix. From the Pinal Mountains to the Tonto Natural Bridge, Gila County is full of rugged natural beauty. Also within the county is the Tonto National Monument of 700-year-old Salado-style cliff dwellings.

4: La Paz County (3.6% of Bridges Rated Poor)

Welcome to La Paz County Park sign in Parker, Arizona.

Eleven bridges in La Paz County are structurally deficient.

©Rosemarie Mosteller/Shutterstock.com

Coming in fourth in the state for having the worst bridges, there are 305 total bridges within La Paz County. Eleven (3.6%) of them are deemed structurally deficient. Sparsely populated, La Paz County is located in the western part of the state. Interestingly, La Paz County became a county after Arizona gained its statehood. It’s the only county in the state to do so. It has only been in existence since 1983 when it split from Yuma County.

La Paz County is home to the Parker River Strip, an area along the Colorado River where people enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and waterside dining.

3: Apache County (4.2% of Bridges Rated Poor)

Colorful crystals in a petrified log in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona

The otherworldy

Petrified Forest National Park

is in Apache County, where the logs are made of colorful crystals.

©williamhc/iStock via Getty Images

Out of Apache County’s 261 bridges, 11 are rated in poor condition. Apache County is located in the northeast corner of the state where Arizona borders New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.

Within the county are the Fort Apache Reservation, portions of the Zuni Reservation, and portions of the Navajo Nation. The county topography ranges from the White Mountains in the south to colorful desert plateaus in the north. 

2: Greenlee County (4.4% of Bridges Rated Poor)

Geode

Tourists can search for geodes and fire agates in Greenlee County at the

Round Mountain BLM Rockhound Area

.

©Bjoern Wylezich/Shutterstock.com

Although only four bridges in Greenlee County are structurally deficient, there are only 90 bridges total in the county, making it the second worst state in terms of the percentage of poorly rated bridges. Greenlee County is in the southeastern part of Arizona and with only around 9,500 residents, is the least populous county in the state. It’s also one of three counties in the state that doesn’t contain a Native American reservation.

The county has a majestic and rugged landscape. It is popular for hiking and outdoor sports along its scenic mountains, canyons, and rivers. Greenlee County also provides a habitat for many bird species, including red-tailed hawksgreat blue heronsgreat horned owls, and canyon wrens.

1: Graham County (4.7% of Bridges Rated Poor)

Beautiful landscape of Aravaipa Canyon, Arizona -  perfect for wallpaper

The breathtaking Aravaipa Canyon is located in Graham County.

©Wirestock/iStock via Getty Images

Finally, coming in as the county in Arizona with the worst bridges, eight of Graham County’s 172 bridges are structurally deficient. Located in the southeastern part of the state, Graham County is home to the Gila River, Mount Graham, Roper Lake, and Aravaipa Canyon.

The history of the land that is now Graham County dates back to prehistoric times when indigenous people lived in the area. Today, Graham County is home to Native American burial grounds, other sacred sites, and sites of ancient villages.

Finally, the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is located in both Graham and Greenlee Counties. Animals that live in the conservation area include bighorn sheepmountain lions, and black bears.

Summary of the 5 Counties with the Worst Bridges in All of Arizona

RankCountyTotal BridgesBridges Rated as PoorTotal Percentage of Poor Bridges
1Graham County17284.7%
2Greenlee County9044.4%
3Apache County261114.2%
4La Paz County305113.6%
5Gila County26593.4%

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Vadim Gouida/Shutterstock.com


Share on:
About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.