Thursday, August 2, 2007

America's Infrastructure Dangers

My thoughts and prayers are with the Minneapolis community as they cope with this tragedy.

I'm sure that a thorough investigation will be conducted to determine why a section of I35W in Minneapolis collapsed. Hopefully, the outcome of their studies will result in action and not just another government study. The following articles discuss what we knew about the potential dangers.


" a bridge in America just shouldn't fall down" -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar

White House Cites Deficiencies in Bridge

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

White House said Thursday that an inspection two years ago found structural deficiencies in the highway bridge that buckled during evening rush hour in Minneapolis. White House press secretary Tony Snow said the 40-year-old Interstate 35W span rated 50 on a scale of 120 for structural stability.

"This doesn't mean there was a risk of failure, but if an inspection report identifies deficiencies, the state is responsible for taking corrective actions," he said.

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ASCE Expresses Sympathies Over Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

" On behalf of our 140,000 members, ASCE extends its deepest condolences to the victims, the injured, their families and all others affected by the catastrophic bridge collapse that occurred in Minneapolis on Aug. 1. The 35-W Interstate bridge's main 458-foot span collapsed into the Mississippi River during evening rush hour, sending dozens of vehicles, tons of concrete and twisted metal into the waters of the Mississippi River 64 feet below. Built in 1967, the bridge carries an average of 140,000 vehicles a day. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating what could have caused this horrific incident.

ASCE's 2005 Report Card for America's Infrastructure indicated that between 2000 and 2003, the percentage of the nation's 590,750 bridges rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete decreased slightly from 28.5% to 27.1%. However, it will cost $9.4 billion a year for 20 years to eliminate all bridge deficiencies. Long-term underinvestment is compounded by the lack of a federal transportation program. "

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Study: U.S. Infrastructure Eroding

Report Says Roads, Bridges, Drinking Water Systems Are Crumbling

By Leslie Miller
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2005

A report by the American Society of Civil Engineers released Wednesday assessed the four-year trend in the condition of 12 categories of infrastructure, including roadways, bridges, drinking water systems, public parks, railroads and the power grid.

The overall grade slipped from the D-plus given to the infrastructure in 2001 and 2003.

The report said $1.6 trillion should be spent over the next five years to alleviate potential problems with the nation's infrastructure. Transportation alone requires $94 billion in annual spending, the report said.

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$1.6 Trillion Needed for US Infrastructure

On Sept. 4, ASCE issued its 2003 Progress Report for America’s Infrastructure. It once again gave the U.S. infrastructure a grade of “discouraging D+,” showing no progress from two years ago. However, while the grade has not changed, the estimated costs to bring the nation’s infrastructure to an “adequate” level have gone up since 2001 – from $1.3 trillion to $1.6 trillion.

The report bolsters what many in the trade union and people’s movements have argued: the country needs more investment in people’s needs and the basic infrastructure.

ASCE announced “trend indicators” for 12 infrastructure categories: Roads, Bridges, Transit, Aviation, Energy, Schools, Drinkable Water, Wastewater, Dams, Solid Waste, Hazardous Waste, and Navigable Waterways.

The trends are not good, according to ASCE President Thomas Jackson, who told reporters, “We’re sliding toward failure and the prospects for improvement are grim.”

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