hey you! sign up and become a contributing writer to this site! no blogging experience required! register here then leave a comment here!!
« Asian Village update
» Detroit News Roundup for Thursday August 2, 2007

Fix it first… or else

08.03.07 | technician | In windsor, bridge, minneapolis

When Will the Next Bridge Collapse?

The Minneapolis bridge disaster is no isolated incident but a warning signal: More than 160,000 road bridges in the USA are considered to be in danger of collapse. Highways, tunnels, dams and dykes are in such miserable condition that engineers have long been ringing the alarm — so far in vain.

The tragedy in Minneapolis should be a wake-up call for the whole country. How much of our economy depends on efficient transportation? And how much of this transportation is bottlenecked on bridges, like the Ambassador Bridge? Knowing the sorry state of infrastructure in the nation we now have to worry about the bridge collapsing on its own and not just from terrorist attacks.

Take America’s bridges, for example. Two years ago, ASCE produced a “report card” evaluating the US’s entire crumbling infrastructure, giving it miserable grades — and road and highway bridges came off the worst. To that extent, the assurances of dignitaries in the wake of the latest disaster, like Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman’s assertion that “We must ensure that a catastrophe like the one that happened today never occurs again,” sound like cynical populism.

In the 2005 report, the ASCE rated 160,570 road bridges in the USA (27.1 percent) as “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete” as of 2003 — in other words, in danger of collapse. Nevertheless, the ASCE added that that was an improvement over 2000, when 28.5 percent of all bridges were unsatisfactory.

Urban bridges are in the worst condition, with almost one-third of bridges in cities being deficient. Among other things, that is because of the fact that the respective city administrations are responsible for these bridges, and not the US freeway authority, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The FHWA wants to reduce the number of defective bridges to under 25 percent by next year. Then, as ASCE boss Marcuson points out, only every fourth bridge would be unsatisfactory — hardly a reassuring state of affairs. Repairing all of America’s bridges would take at least 20 years and would eat up some $10 billion — money which no one wants to spend.

each he

As usual the problem is money and there’s not enough to go around. But knowing this why can’t we upsets that infrastructure costs money not only to build but to maintain and that building more and more infrastructure is a huge waste of money when the infrastructure already exists. And it does. Spend what money we do have to make easier to use what infrastructure we do have.

Leave a comment

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. Subscribe to these comments.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>



« Asian Village update
» Detroit News Roundup for Thursday August 2, 2007