It’s been a rough month and a half. Between the Boston Marathon bombings, the Texas fertilizer plant explosions, and most recently the Oklahoma Tornadoes, there’s been one tragedy after another and a rising death toll. Then, just this past Thursday, a bridge near Seattle, along the I-5 collapsed. Fortunately, traffic must have been light and very few cars fell from the bridge into the River.
Although there were thankfully no deaths in the collapse, the fact that it happened at all, is kind of a metaphor to what is going on around here. Officials have surmised that the bridge collapsed due to a oversized truck hitting an overhead support. But if you look past that, what you’ll find is a bridge that was deemed “fracture critical” meaning that a collapse could occur if even one part of it failed. Its structural condition was rated a 5 out of 9 or “somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is." It would seem to me that a car or truck hitting parts of a bridge would be a common occurrence on a major interstate freeway. It didn’t seem to be adequate at all. I wonder if the inspectors cringe when they have to pass a structure with that rating. It sure makes me cringe.
The last two major natural disasters (Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornado) exposed major flaws in our infrastructure. Public buildings were destroyed not being able to withstand the recent strength of mother nature and then the cherry on top is this bridge - a bridge not able to withstand what was essentially a truck accident.
Also in the news this past week was the House Republicans voting again to repeal “Obamacare”…for the 37th time. I wonder if the time and money used on this many votes would have been better spent on other areas. I’m afraid that we’re all going to need “Obamacare” with the country literally collapsing all around us.
As congress continues to argue over who’s is bigger this nation has also become “somewhat better than minimum adequacy”. However, it’s getting awfully hard to tolerate.