Friday, May 24, 2013

Washington bridges are falling down, falling down, falling down

Skagit Bridge I-5 Collapse

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave American Infrastructure a D+; clearly stating that infrastructure spending needed to increase by the trillions over the next 10 years just to stay where we are at today. Not even what it will take to move forward in the future. If we do not take appropriate action, then levies will break and bridges will collapse. Well, it happened this morning. The Skagit bridge in Washington State along I-5 collapsed when a wide-load truck tried to cross it. As the bridge gave way beneath them, Trucks, cars, and people fell into the river. Luckily, nobody was killed or seriously injured. 

Again, the ASCE report is an interest-group sponsored report  of the cost projection is if we wanted to stay where we are today. That's not the goal. The goal is to be where we need to be tomorrow. A lot of bridges that were built during the New Deal serve communities that no longer exist. A lot of roads have so little traffic that they are not worth repairing. There are levees that destroyed eco-systems instead of protecting them. We know a lot more know than we did back then. Our needs now are a lot different than they were back then. 

A cost-benefit analysis should be used to determine what actually should get fixed or replaced, and what should not. But at least - at very, very least - close the bridges that are going to collapse underneath our feet. People's lives should not be in danger due to poor infrastructure. 

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