Thursday, August 02, 2007

How safe are our bridges?

With the collapse of the Interstate bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota last night, it makes you wonder just what shape our nations' bridges are in.

MINNEAPOLIS – An interstate bridge jammed with rush-hour traffic suddenly broke into huge sections and collapsed Wednesday into the Mississippi River, pitching dozens of cars 60 feet into the water and killing at least seven people.

The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, was in the midst of being repaired, and two lanes in each direction were closed when the bridge buckled.

“There were two lanes of traffic, bumper to bumper, at the point of the collapse. Those cars did go into the river,” said Minneapolis police Lt. Amelia Huffman. “At this point there is nothing to suggest that this was anything other than a structural collapse.”

From all accounts I've heard, this bridge just suddenly shook hard, rumbled, and collapsed before the eyes of those on the bridge. Watching the video that was taken at the time of impact, it looked like dominoes coming down.

I've been reading a good article on rehabilitation of our bridges. It says that many of our bridges are in need of repair or perhaps replaced. And, the average age of our bridges are 40 years old, which means we have lots of bridges much older. Some of those bridges are obsolete. Many of our state bridges on the Interstates have been either repaired or replaced in our state in the last few years. Hopefully they are maintaining all bridges so that a catastrophe like the one in Minnesota doesn't happen here.

Linked at Conservative Cat

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