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ABC Asks: How Safe Are America’s Bridges?

From ABC News:

How Safe Are America’s Bridges?

Experts Say More Than a Quarter of U.S. Bridges Are Structurally Unstable

Aug. 2. 2007 — They are marvels of steel and concrete, engineering feats that millions of drivers take for granted every day.

But this morning, a day after a catastrophic collapse in Minneapolis that left at least four reportedly dead and rescuers beginning the grim task of recovery, Americans across the country are wondering just how safe the nation’s estimated 600,000 bridges really are.

According to the Center for International and Strategic Studies, more than a quarter of the country’s bridges are structurally unstable. A federal report in 2005 said Minnesota’s Interstate 35W bridge was structurally deficient and may need to be repaired.

That 27 percent “does not necessarily mean that any is near imminent failure,” said Casey Dinges, the managing director of external affairs for the American Society of Civil Engineers, on “Good Morning America” today.

“Once a bridge has been designated to have problems, we keep a close eye on it,” Dinges said.

Built in 1967, the I-35W bridge was supported by a single steel arch rather than spanning across piers in the water, which can slow down river traffic.

But Wednesday’s deadly collapse proved that even modern ingenuity can turn to tragedy in an instant.

Nervous commuters “should not be overly concerned” about a similar incident, said Dinges, calling the disaster a wake-up call. “People getting in their cars this morning should not be fearing for their lives.”

Bridge collapses have killed dozens of Americans. In 2002 a barge rammed into a section of a bridge near Webbers Falls, Okla., submerging cars and killing 14 lives.

In a similar accident in 1980, a 600-foot freighter plowed into the Sunshine Skyway Bridge during a storm, toppling a Greyhound bus, three cars and a truck into Tampa Bay and killing 35 commuters.

In 1967, 46 people died when the Silver Bridge buckled and collapsed into the Ohio River, taking 31 vehicles with it.

You have to hand it to our one party media. They never miss a trick.

But whatever happened to all that talk about the trillions of dollars we needed to spend to “save our infrastructure”? Was Clinton elected, thereby ending the problem?

Or has global warming replaced that bogeyman?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, August 2nd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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