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Ear to the Ground

Collapsed Bridge Had Known Structural Problems

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Posted on Aug 2, 2007
bridge
AP Photo / Pioneer Press, Scott Takeshi, www.twincities.com

At least four fatalities have been confirmed in Wednesday’s catastrophe.

A day after Wednesday’s deadly rush-hour bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the Bush administration acknowledged that the interstate freeway bridge had been known to be “structurally deficient” for at least two years—while carefully pointing out that the Minnesota government was responsible for its upkeep.


AP via Jacksonville Daily News:

President Bush pledged federal help in rebuilding the bridge in the city that will host next year’s Republican National Convention.

“We in the federal government must respond, and respond robustly, to help the people there not only recover, but to make sure that lifeline of activity _ that bridge _ gets rebuilt as quickly as possible,” Bush said in the Rose Garden after a Cabinet meeting.

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By Alida, August 5, 2007 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

I remember an apartment building exploded in the San Fernando Valley in California a few years back and it was attributed to a gas leak.  Only non of the residents gave any indication that they smelled gas before the explosion.  Make you wonder.

My point is this, this bridge collapsing is the Bush administrations fault.

1.  They are the leadership of the country.  State and local governments will follow their example by default.

These being; a: take care of only those things that interest you personally.
        b: spend recklessly
        c: ignore the constituency

2.  This administration has cut funds left and right and has left our states vulnerable to all kinds of tragedies just waiting to happen.

3.  They’ve lied to the american people and to the world. 

4.  They are a secretive bunch, so what can we believe now?

Yes, I blame Bush and the Bushies for failing to take care of business, whether it be the botched up war or the infrastructure.  Attitudes and the tone of management always trickles down.  Yeah…they are to blame.

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By Outraged, August 3, 2007 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

Well maintained, inspected, structurally sound bridges DON’T fall down!

Would they like us to believe this was an accident?  It’s about as accidental as telling a child to play on the highway because when you “checked” there weren’t any cars coming!

On 7-31-2007 a bridge collapsed in California, on 7-19-2007 a building collapsed in Mumbai, India, and on 7-05-2007 a 14 story building collapsed in Denver, Colorado.  That was just July 2007, wonder what would happen if I actually started researching this phenomenon.  There are many possibilities here and to my way of thinking, all of them are not good.  Remember the world trade towers and building seven?  They collapsed too.

Now this could be shoddy construction, bad materials, or mismanagement.

Remember when we had all these government employees with fake diplomas. I’ll quote from a CBS news story of 05-10-2004:

“He says he’s not surprised to know that there are people working at almost every level of government who have degrees from these types of operations”....

“CBS News requested interviews with both officials. The Pentagon turned us down, saying, “We don’t consider it an issue.”

“But we found employees with diploma mill degrees at the new Transportation Security Administration, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Departments of Treasury and Education, where Rene Drouin sits on an advisory committee. He has degrees from two diploma mills including Kensington University.”

Check it out at: http//www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/10/eveningnews/main616664.shtml

How many? Apparently about 463 employees, and yeah, some of them were safety inspectors.

I’m curious, which companies or communities NEED shoddy inspectors?  And the questions don’t stop there.  Why did the government WANT unskilled employees?  Why did building seven fall?  This isn’t the end of it yet because according to one of the news reports I saw, GW sent the yadda dept, the yadda dept, FEMA, but also the FBI and HOMELAND SECURITY.

I’m in the middle of reading a book by Alvin and Heidi Toffler, called War and Anti-War. I believe I’ve quoted them in an earlier post.  I was reading a chapter about non-lethal weaponry (which by the way is not necessarily “non-lethal”) and they discuss several different “James Bond” type chemical and biological agents. I’ll quote:

“Then there is “liquid metal embrittlement.”  It is possible to wage a kind of “graffiti” war by using a felt marker or a spray can to apply a colorless chemical to key components of metal structures like bridge pylons, airport facilities, elevators, or weapons.  The fluid causes them to become brittle, breakable, and hence unusable.”

So that didn’t sit right with me.  This bridge collapsing is much more involved than “the bridge collapsed”, isn’t that terrible.  The question is, Why?

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By THOMAS BILLIS, August 3, 2007 at 2:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You are right previous commenters it is not George Bush’s fault he is too stupid to be blamed for anything.Eisenhower had a goal of building the interstate highway system and had the leadership qualities to get it done.Our President is too worried about rebuilding Iraq instead of rebuilding America.Do you think the 250 million dollars for the bridge to nowhere could have been better used for fixing a bridge a somewhere.After 7 years of George Bush’s Presidency the infrastructure of America is collapsing.The Congress is the small picture guys worried about bringing the pork home to get relected.You Mr President are the big picture guy who is supposed to bring us together for big national projects.You have unfortunately focused as a big national project the war in Iraq to exclusion of everything else.Yes Mr President, the buck stops with you.Good news Minnesotta Pres Bush is on the way with help.Not only to fix the bridge but to bring demcoracy.

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 3, 2007 at 1:51 am Link to this comment

#91872 by RAE on 8/02 at 10:20 pm: “...Every bridge in the USA could have been rebuilt for less money than the administration has wasted in Iraq blowing up the infrastructure there….”

We know - but you still seemed so keen on apologising for Rumsfeld in the Tillman-Congress topic, RAE. Make up your mind!

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By RAE, August 2, 2007 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

Every bridge in the USA could have been rebuilt for less money than the administration has wasted in Iraq blowing up the infrastructure there.

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By cyrena, August 2, 2007 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

#91770 by Mighk on 8/02 at 1:56 pm

•  As much as I like to bash this administration, they are really not to blame for the sorry state of our infrastructure; Congress and the state DOTs are.

Mighk,

I have to agree with you here, that there are probably a couple of miseries that we can’t blame on them, at least directly. ALTHOUGH, in so far as transportation planning, (at the federal level) has still always been connected to the Oligarchy, and this administration certainly represents that.

I too, spent a career in transportation operations planning, (aviation) and there has always been conflict between the Federal Bureaus, (such as the FAA) and the private sector, which the aviation industry actually is. Still, they seemed to manage well enough, back during the 70’s and 80’s, to make some major profits, and indirectly, it’s always been because of trying to do things “on the cheap”, to increase profits and “outsourcing” has been one of the primary ways to do that.

Over a period of time, (like the last 30 years) this has had the cumulative effect of chipping away at our infrastructure, including our human infrastructure. And, in the past decade or so, it has really taken a tumble. People are no longer thoroughly trained, and as you’ve said the money has not been invested in the infrastructure itself, on any sort of maintenance, or even pragmatic planning for the future. T’would seem all plans are out of date long before they can ever see completion.

So, we actually see this sort of stuff everywhere these days, and sometimes we hear about it, and sometimes we don’t. A similar event occurred in the Bay area here in California, back around the first of the year. A truck driver somehow managed to do a trick that brought down a huge portion of that bridge as well. (it was the Oakland interchange). Miraculously, no one was injured in that collapse, and probably because it was an “off” time of the day. Still, rotting infrastructures, (or ones that were not built properly to begin with) are happening all over the place, same as for everything we’ve supposedly “constructed” in Iraq. What little has been done there, has ALL fallen apart.

We just don’t build ‘em or plan things like we used to. It’s very sad. It’s like reading the history of the decline of the Roman empire, except it’s not a history, because it’s happening NOW, to US.

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By P. T., August 2, 2007 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

Bush to Minneapolis residents:  “Don’t worry.  I’ll fix everything like in New Orleans.”

This kind of thing just reminds everybody of why they hate Bush.

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By farmertx, August 2, 2007 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Hey, at least he ain’t sitting there staring off into the distance this time.

I drove over the road for a number of years. Chicago, IL. bridges have a tendancy to vibrate enough to feel inside a loaded rig stopped in traffic on those bridges. And that was in the 60’s. Ain’t none fell yet, though I wouldn’t give odds on that continuing.

Shrub does have a talent for mixing You gotta help yourself with We are here to help you. Not that he ever changes his position…well, unless Der Karl tells him too.

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By Trigger finger, August 2, 2007 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, all you people who would like to blame the bush for this disaster are just plain wrong. He has plenty of money set aside for construction projects like this, but this is just one more example of the work that lazy ass fat American fat asses just won’t do. Americans are sitting around on their fat rich asses waiting for the hungry illegal Mexicans to get this construction labor completed.  You know, American workers are so fat and lazy that American Contractors in need of workers won’t even talk to any lazy-ass American bastards anymore.  We started this job of outsourcing a few years too late. If India or China or Mexico had done this work in the first place, the damn bridge would still be standing.  And now, since the amnesty for illegal immigrants bill has failed, I am going to have to find another route to get to my lake cabin for the rest of this summer. Lazy God Damn Americans are letting the entire info-structure collapse. George was right about his “do nothing” lazy ass American workers. Please, Please George and Ted, hurry up and get us lots of ambitious foreign illegal immigrants to do this re-construction work that we lazy fat ass Americans won’t do so I can get up to my cabin.  Better yet, figure out a way to re-build the bridge in China.  I hear they will work for .50 cents to $1.00 a day.  Load it on a ship with 500 thousand Chinese workers, ship it over here and have them set it up over the river and you have your interstate bridge back for under a couple million dollars.

Pretty fucking smart, Huh George?  But I’m sure you already thought of this!

Damn worthless Lazy ass American workers!

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By Mighk, August 2, 2007 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As much as I like to bash this administration, they are really not to blame for the sorry state of our infrastructure; Congress and the state DOTs are.  Congress has favored building NEW highways and bridges to the expense of maintaining or replacing existing ones, and the DOTs and highway building lobby have been more than willing to go along.

I work in transportation planning.

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By rowdy, August 2, 2007 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

a trillion dollars pissed away. billions literally stolen by iraqi leaders. and then this useless piece of shit calling himself “president” has the balls to say we can’t afford health care for everyone. nothing has been done for new orleans, but we pissed away another billion on useless contaminated mobile homes. that no one can live in. now the motherfucker in chief promises that this bridge will be rebuilt as long as the state of minnesota ponies up the funds,because,ya know, the U.S. treasury just doesn’t have any money that isn’t already earmarked for isreal and saudi arabia and whatever dictator is our new best friend.

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By sophrosyne, August 2, 2007 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Bush administration worked hard to rob public infrastructure of needed funds and attention.  He chose to illegally invade Iraq when that country had nothing to do with terrosirsm, Jihad or 9-11.  His dishonesty in fighting the war on “terrorism” is made worse by the substantial damage his administration has done to urgent domestic spending needs.  The instrument of public will, government, has been shattered except for its endless fear and war-making powers.  The damage this inept, dishonest and criminal adminstation has done in damaging the nation’s morale, its ability to employ “soft power” through appeal to its moral and political legacy expressed in the Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg Address,andin putting at risk our safety and our general well being will haunt this country for decades to come.

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By Elizabeth J. Young, August 2, 2007 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We have known for a decade that the national infrastructure needed a lot of work.  It was my opinion that the surplus needed to be spent on improving things while we could.  Its not just roads and bridges.  The national power grid is also fragile.  Wait ‘til the entire NE power grid goes down again. But the current administration thought giving the surplus to the rich so they could spend it on luxury goods was a better use of the money.

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By cyrena, August 2, 2007 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

Gee Shrub, just step right up to the plate. Offer some help, even while acknowledging that you KNEW the bridge had problems, (not unlike the levys in New Orleans) but of course it was up to them to fix those problems.

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