Friday, August 3, 2007

Video of the Minnesota Bridge Collapsing

This bridge thing fascinates me.
We rely so heavily on the things that engineers give us, and yet sometimes it just falls down around our ankles. Now this bridge was 40 years old in an area that is in a constant state of freeze/thaw... I'm sure that isn't good on any structure, let alone a bridge over water. There was another thing I read, and I hope I don't misquote... but it had a span of well over 400 feet with just arch, no support going down into the water so as to not impede water traffic. It sounds like such stretching was just a little too much for such a structure.

Then there is the construction work being done on the bridge. Evidently it was just aesthetic stuff... the light fixtures, etc. But my question is: did the closed lanes from the construction slow down the traffic enough so that the weight was much more than any other day? I mean, when we are driving on a normal road there is at least room for another car between each car... BUT, when it is bumper to bumper traffic there is no space in between... in fact more cars will fit in the same area if traffic is stopped or quite slow. Did the construction on the bridge make an already bad situation worse?

I pity the rescue divers who would like to get into the water and try to help people, or at least recover the bodies to give the families some closure. They are finding the Mississippi current too strong and the debris too treacherous to work around. The frustration levels must be horribly high.

I really like reading about the heroes... those average everyday people that dived back into that muddy river to try to save a stranger's life. It is just this kind of selflessness that makes me proud to be human.

At this point... do you find yourself looking warily at every bridge you are about to cross?

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