Bridge Safety

With the recent collapse of the pedestrian bridge Miami near Florida International University this brings to the spotlight once again bridge and road safety.

With recent reports stating that an engineer observed, “some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span.” How safe was the bridge to begin with and why were workers allowed to work on the bridge when there was cracking in the bridge. The cracking in the bridge should have been enough to halt any other work beside the repairing of that crack.

This brings to mind the 35W bridge collapse that happened here in 2007. There bridge was deemed “structurally deficient.” That meant that there was work that needed to be done, more importantly it was deemed, “fracture critical,” and that means that “the failure of just one vital component could cause the whole bridge to collapse.” And that vital component did fail. Again, once there were obvious signs of failure for 35W the work that was going on at the time of the collapse should have stopped. They should have closed at least one part of the bridge to start the repairs.

With the Miami collapse this just shows that there is still so much work to do with the infrastructure in this country. Last year, 172 bridges in Minnesota are structurally deficient or fracture critical. With such a high number bridge safety in Minnesota and this country should be a top priority. We use pedestrian and vehicle bridges every day and we trust that they are safe. But with those numbers, just in Minnesota alone, shows we have a long way to go.

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