County-owned bridges should be capitalized at historical or estimated historical cost and depreciated as infrastructure. The Tennessee Department of Transportation bridge inspection reports are an excellent source of information for determining the construction date and dimensions of most, if not all, county-owned bridges. If the actual historical cost of the bridge cannot be located, a county can use an estimated historical cost by using a deflation calculator to index current bridge construction cost back to the year of construction. All bridges acquired on or after July 1, 1980, and above the county’s capitalization threshold should be capitalized. Major renovations and repairs that are not considered routine maintenance and upgrades to bridges that exceed the capitalization threshold, such as wood to concrete, should also be capitalized and depreciated.
Blue County has a bridge that was originally built with a wooden floor in 1945. The bridge was upgraded to a concrete span in 1985. The county implemented GASB 34 in 2006 and retroactively reported the bridge as a concrete span with an acquisition date of 1985 (when the upgrade took place).
Blue County has a concrete box-type bridge that originally was constructed in 1983. However, the bridge had extensive damage in a storm and had major repairs (that extended the bridge’s original useful life) in 1993. The bridge would be capitalized with an initial acquisition date as of 1993 (the date of the major renovation).