Bridge to Somewhere, Sometime

Bridges are falling down, or nearly, and nothing is being done about it.

Division Street Bridge
[Division Street Bridge]

A troubling report indicates the state has found little progress on “urgent” repairs for some of the most heavily-traveled bridges in the Chicago area.

As CBS 2’s Joanie Lum reports, Illinois is in better shape than most states. But the Associated Press found that of the 20 busiest bridges in the state, only six have undergone necessary repairs, and funds are short.

The findings come as the one-year anniversary of the tragic Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis approaches. Thirteen people died when the bridge caved in and sent cars plunging into the Mississippi River.

In Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and state engineers have said the Minneapolis bridge collapse should have been a wakeup call, but few bridges have actually been repaired.

Overall, the vast majority of Illinois’ 26,000 bridges have been deemed safe. But a review of records last year by The Associated Press found more than 1,500 Illinois bridges had worse structural ratings than the Minnesota bridge collapse.

[From – Report: Little Progress On ‘Urgent’ Bridge Repairs ]

Federal dollars are being wasted in the sands of Iraq, state dollars being wasted on trifles, city dollars being squandered on baubles: meanwhile the nation’s infrastructure continues to decay. How much longer can it be ignored before a tragedy occurs?

One structural engineer argued Wednesday that while insufficient funds is part of the problem, it also provides an “easy excuse” for inaction.

“The Minnesota collapse doesn’t appear to have been the wake-up call it should have been,” said John Frauenhoffer, head of a Champaign engineering firm and past president of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers. “If anything ever happened at one of those bridges, it’d be impossible to explain to the public why those repairs hadn’t been made.”

Enchanted Sky Machine
[Enchanted Sky Machine, Evanston]

Of course, if all the bridges suddenly got repaired, I’d lose a favorite photo subject, but I’d rather deal with finding some other metaphor of decay than have another bridge collapse.

Lost Causeways
[Lost Causeways, Ogden Avenue]

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