The bridge that collapsed on Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington was listed as “functionally obsolete” and “fracture critical,” which means the whole sha-bang could come tumbling down if one major part fails.
Click here to read the details from USAToday. This sort of thing shouldn’t be happening in a modern, developed nation.
Barry LePatner, a New York construction industry lawyer, has been sounding the alarm about the sorry shape of America’s bridges for a long time. He says cash-strapped governments large and small been neglecting bridges for decades, and that failures like this are the inevitable consequence.
When I wrote about Mr. LePatner’s claims last year, I received a lot of emails from readers calling him alarmist. He’s in the construction business. He’d like to see his clients building bridges. He was just trying to drum up business, they said.
It’s a point well taken, but now another bridge has fallen. It only took a truck to take it down. You could blame it on the truck, or you could blame it on a bridge built in 1955, that wasn’t adequately updated to handle modern traffic.
I count it as a sign Mr. LaPatner is right. Fortunately this time, there were no fatalities.
Click here to read the column I wrote last year on Mr. LaPatner in The Sunday Wall Street Journal.