LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Similar to students in school, the state's infrastructure gets a report cards every year from the American Society of Civil Engineers — and Kentucky is definitely not at the top of its class.
The 2019 Kentucky Infrastructure report said the state did not receive a grade higher than a B- in anything, including drinking water, with bridges taking home a C- and roads getting a D+.
A interstate bridge on a popular spring break route in Tennessee collapsed earlier this week, making people question whether something like that could happen in Kentucky. While low grades do not bode well for infrastructure, researchers said people should not worry.
"Freak accidents like this do happen from time to time and they have happened in Kentucky," Tom Rockaway of the Center for Infrastructure Research at the University of Louisville said.
Rockaway said the bridge collapses are more often than not freak accidents having nothing to do with low grades. Instead, Rockaway said low grades mean underlying problems might exist.
"It's important to be realistic, so when we're looking at this years report and we see a C-, that doesn't mean that bridges like these are suddenly going to collapse and fall," Rockaway said. "If we don't maintain our infrastructure things are going to continue to deteriorate and get worse and worse for us."
In order to change these issues, Rockaway said the state must prioritize funding for bridge and road repairs.
"A lot of these changes are because the shift program where we're starting to prioritize funding," Rockaway said. "This is going to be a decision that our legislators and our communities have to make that infrastructure is important to us."
The hope, Rockaway said, is to bring Kentucky's grades up to a B or A by investing in infrastructure that will address current problems and anticipate future issues. Specifically, the report cards said rural communities in the state require significant changes.