A routine trip to run errands almost cost Katherine Dean her life. In February, just as Ms. Dean, of suburban Maryland, drove underneath a bridge on the Capital Beltway, a large chunk of concrete fell from the structure, crushing the hood of her car and smashing the windshield.

She was unharmed, but the incident left her shaken. After the news media picked up her story, the state apologized to her, and state officials ordered an immediate inspection of other aging bridges along the suburban route encircling Washington, also known as Interstate 495.

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BELOW: The collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis in 2007 killed 13 people and focused attention on the state of bridges across the nation. By Retro Report on Publish Date March 3, 2014. Photo by Heather Munro/Polaris.