News Item:
Necessary bridge repairs number in the thousands

Within the past year or so, I remember reading in one of the local papers about how many bridges in our area were in pretty sad shape.  The item was buried somewhere among highway construction reports.  The bridge collapse in Minnesota has raised the issue again, and as usual it took a catastrophe to bring something like this to the forefront.

Maintenance of infrastructure in the US quite often sits on the back burner, while state and federal officials load up bills with high visibility projects.  Name plaques are attached to the new Senator So-and-So Bridge, ribbon cuttings are held for the Representative Yeh-That’s-Me Memorial Highway.  No one remembers your name for pushing through a bill to upgrade century old sewer systems, or budgeting repairs to antiquated bridges.  Things like that don’t make the front page of the newspaper, and a name has to be known in order to get votes.

There are people in this country that are afraid to cross a bridge.  Years ago I actually knew one such person myself, and admittedly I thought the phobia was kind of silly.  Today in New Jersey, however,  more than 700 bridges are rated structurally deficient., and in Pennsylvania the number is a whopping 5,000 plus.  The bridge in Minnesota was rated deficient all the way back in 1990, and this week it finally fell into the Mississippi River.  Maybe that person that held their breath each time they crossed the Delaware here at home wasn’t being so silly after all.

News Source:

The Daily Record – NJ Bridges

Philadelphia Inquirer – PA Bridges

Cartoon from Sid in the City

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