What About Other Bridges?

Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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It was one of those surreal moments when I first saw the breaking news from Minneapolis last evening of the I-35 W. bridge collapse.
It’s so close to home and a structure most of us have been over hundreds of times.
Knowing how busy that highway is, especially at rush hour, my first thought was how many people must have been on the bridge at the time and wondering how many died.
The next thoughts were how could such a thing happen and could it possibly be terrorism?
Investigators are looking to answer those questions but apparently have pretty much ruled out sabotage.
This may sound terrible, but I almost wish it was.
Then we’d have somebody to blame for this terrible tragedy. We could focus our rage.
Instead, I fear, we may not know the cause for weeks..or months..or maybe never.
People are already wondering how a bridge that has passed regular inspections could just fall down. Does this mean every interstate overpass in the country is now suspect?
How long will it take to inspect them all?
What good are inspections if the bridge that now lies in the Mississippi River, got a clean bill of health just last year?
I foresee a lot of bridges being torn down and replaced simply because they’re over 30 years old and we apparently can no longer be certain about whether or not they’ve dangerously deteriorated..and we can’t take any chances.
Of course I’d rather be safe than sorry but I can just imagine how this tragic incident is going to affect the already congested flow of traffic not only in the Twin Cities but anywhere interstate bridges exist.

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