NTSB: I-5 Bridge Collapse is Wake-up Call for Entire Country

By Proof

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NTSB says Washington state bridge collapse is wake-up call for entire country
The collapse of an Interstate highway bridge in northern Washington state is a wake-up call for the entire nation, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board says. Investigators need to find out what happened at the I-5 span 60 miles north of Seattle and if it could be repeated at similar bridges around the country, Debbie Hersman said Saturday.

"This is a really significant event and we need to learn from it, not just in Washington but around the country," Hersman said after taking a boat ride on the Skagit River below the dramatic scene where a truck bumped against the steel framework, collapsing the bridge and sending two vehicles and three people falling into the chilly water. "At the end of the day it's about preventing an accident like this," she said.
As Yogi Berra once said, "It's Déjà vu all over again!". Doesn't this seem familiar somehow? Return with me to 2011. President Barack Hussein Obama:
"According to the Republican budget that was passed, for example, we would have to eliminate transportation funding by a third. We’d have to cut transporting funding by a third. You remember when that bridge in Minnesota collapsed with all those people on it? And there was a big hue and cry: How can this happen in America? Well, the National Society of Engineers, they’ve looked around and they give us a 'D' when it comes to infrastructure. Our roads, our bridges, our sewer systems are all deteriorating." "We don’t even have a serious high-speed rail infrastructure in this country," Obama continued. "Our broadband lines are slower than places like South Korea. Well, so what, we cut transportation by another third, and what’s going to happen to America? We’re just going to have potholes everywhere? We’re just going to have bridges collapsing everywhere?"
And, of course, this was after the trillion dollars added to the budget in 2009 to shore up our infrastructure with those "shovel ready jobs" he admitted later weren't quite so "shovel ready", and an additional trillion dollars a year in the baseline budget for 2010 and 2011.

So, let's get the timeline straight:

*2007: A bridge collapses in Minnesota, which Obama blames on lack of federal spending. (Had he bothered to read the NTSB's report, he might have informed himself better.)
“The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the inadequate load capacity, due to a design error,” the NTSB states in its 2008 report on the incident.

In fact, the NTSB reported that on the day of the collapse, the bridge was in the process of being refurbished, further contradicting Obama’s claim that the collapse was evidence of a lack of infrastructure spending. “On the day of the collapse, roadway work was underway on the I35W bridge, and four of the eight travel lanes (two outside lanes northbound and two inside lanes southbound) were closed to traffic,” reads the NTSB report.
* 2008: Candidate Barack Obama, Toledo OH:
"We'll create 2 million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, schools and bridges."

(Raise your hand if you remember Obama creating 2 million jobs.)

*2009: A trillion dollar stimulus is implemented, presumably to rebuild crumbling roads, schools and bridges.

*2010: Because of Baseline budgeting, the trillion dollars spent as "stimulus" in 2009 now becomes a part of the federal budget baseline. That means in every year that Obama has been in office, he has had an addition trillion dollars a yar to spend along with the trillions in debt he's racked up.

*2011: Another additional trillion dollars. Obama says we have to spend more to prevent crumbling bridges.

*2012: Another additional trillion dollars

*2013: Another additional trillion dollars

Five trillion additional dollars above what the Bush administration had to spend, plus trillions more in deficit spending, and now, Sacré Bleu! We need to wake up to the fact that our bridges are in need of repair! Where has this administration been for the last five years?

May I make a modest suggestion? We hire George Hussein Onyango Obama, the fellow who's living in a hut for less than twenty dollars a year, to inspect and repair all our bridges. We could maybe double his salary and throw in Obamacare. He could go around the country with a big wrench and tighten all the loose bolts he finds.

Some might say that he isn't competent to do the job. Well, that hasn't stopped his brother!

Cross posted at Proof Positive


  1. We can debate the veracity as to HOW we spend the federal dollar until the cows come home.

    And I agree we WASTE a ton of money on sh*t that does not serve our national self interests in any RATIONAL way.

    However having stated the above I MUST also state that only a fool or one who has been asleep for 25 years will deny our national infrastructure is in need of serious attention.

    But I know we have wars to wage and global liberty to defend as we exert our influence on nations across the glob. Whether or not they are desirous of our influence or American values.

    1. I've never said that there weren't problems with infrastructure. I see them on a daily basis: city, county, state and federal. I'm merely pointing out that this administration ran on a platform of repairing our infrastructure, referenced it on several occasions, spent literally trillions on God knows what, for years, and now it is a big surprise to them that the infrastructure needs attention.

    2. I suppose that would make him no better or worse than prior Presidents in regards to our crumbling infrastructure.

      But we have had senseless wars to prosecute. Afghanistan excluded.

    3. You'd think with all the extra-Constitution Czars he surrounds himself with, he'd be able to get sometime done in a day...or four years, other than a couple hundred rounds of golf! (Well, yes! There were all those vacations!)

      "No worse"? I can't think of a single other president who, the day after he was elected, pledged to create two million jobs repairing the infrastructure. Or who supposedly dedicated a trillion dollars towards it the first year, with so little results.

    4. I get your point Proof, I really do. And being the just minded citizen journalists and opinion columnists we are we will undoubtedly hold the next rEpublican president to the same standards.

      Assuming there is another rEpublican president.

    5. "we will undoubtedly hold the next rEpublican president to the same standards."

      You say that as if there were some doubt? I have no trouble whatsoever holding members of any party to Constitutional standards and standards of fiscal responsibility. If you feel you cannot do the same, perhaps you can find something else to do, better suited to your predilections?

    6. I have absolutely no problem holding any politician or party to the same standards of conduct. You see, that is the beauty of being in essence an independent with strong Classical Liberal proclivities.

  2. the problem is they have siphoned off the highway trust fund money to pay for other things like bike paths, mass transit, and other boondoggles. they had a bridge in upstate collapse due the foundation being eroded by flood water. by the way did I mention that they renamed the 'highway trust fund' to the 'transportation trust fund' so they could depleted it to fund mass transportation projects.

    1. True. If gas taxes were still dedicated to building and maintaining roads, there'd be far fewer potholes than we see today. Like Social Security, it was just another stash of money to be raided.

  3. As an engineer for a state DOT, I'd like to remove the political hat for a moment and just make a few comments about our nation's infrastructure, namely though, our insanely vast road network. Okay, technically, I'm not a 'real engineer', as I've yet to receive my liscense from the state board, but I do have a degree in civil engineering. My bosses remind me of that on a daily basis.

    After I-35 in Minnestoa a few years ago, the ASCE, American Society of Civil Engineers, was tasked with grading our nation's infrastructure on an A-F scale. If memory serves, I believe we received a D-. That grade was for everything; road, rail, sewer, water treatment, energy, you name it, it was evaluated. Not economically, but its condition. Then it was broke down by state, then urban or rural, then type, etc.

    Our roads were graded decently, but nationally, our bridges received poor marks. The problem that we've run into as a country, is that we really and truly have the world's most amazing system of roads. From farm-to-market to state highways to interstates, we are the most connected country (rural to urban) in the world and its not even close. Countries would kill to have the network we do. Unfortunately, our vast system is well passed its prime, and a major rehabilitation of the entire network is required.

  4. Now the poor roads, those haven't yet become a major issue, as far as safety goes. (I'm speaking in very general terms here as we as a country have well over one million centerline miles of paved road. If you hear lane miles it's probably closer to 4 times that.) Now we all know that our network would be useless without the bridges. I believe we have somewhere in the ballpark of 100,000 nationally. Some are direct connectors for insterstates in urban areas that stand 200 feet high and see 100,000 vehicles per day and others are county road bridges that see less that 100 VPD.

    I'm going to mention something called FOS, or factor of safety. I believe it was on here a few years back whilst discussing the WTC collapse. One might think that our bridges would have failed years ago, especially one of such an antiquated design, as is(was) the one in question. Fortunately for us, my predecessors saw to it to over design our bridges because it wouldn't cost much more than just doing the bare minimum and it would increase their longevity. Back then, I believe the standard was 2.0, i.e. a bridge that HAD to carry a 250,000# load was designed such that it could carry 500,000# before failure. Nowadays it's a lot different as each element of the bridge, namely, the concrete and steel, are government by their respective bodies.

    Rest assured though, assuming they are properly constructed, the newer bridges are much safer than their predecessors. This is not mentioning that bridges built in different places will experience different stresses that are accounted for by their designers. (An engineer in California isn't concerned with a snow load and an engineer in Minnestoa isn't concerned with a seismic load.)

    ASCE concluded that just to bring our nation's infrastructure into a passing grade would cost somewhere around $2T. That is a complete guess but I feel it's somewhat accurate. Don't be surprised in the next 10-20 years that you spend time sitting in traffic because a bridge is being replaced. Also, don't get mad! Brige construction is an arduous and slow process but you know you want it done right!

    I've said all of this to say, we can argue about the who or why all day, but the fact of the matter is, we've been extremely fortunate to receive the life out of our infrastructure that we have. Rest assured, as a community, we don't feel that this will become a regular occurrence. We've identified the problem, we have the solution, and now it's just a matter of implementation. Unfortunately, implementation is a fancy word for finding the money, which we all know how that goes.

    Forgive any errors, as I'm using my phone. I pride myself on correct grammar, but I'm certain I missed a few!

    1. We appreciate you sharing your expertise with us. Interesting that the ASCE estimated $2T to bring our infrastructure to a passing grade and Barry and Co. have blown easily two to three times that, with little to nothing to show for it.

  5. What great comments on this issue. Thank you so much for explaining things so well. I love this. I live on a dirt road. I am praying, truly, that the powers that oversee our roads choose to listen and NOT PAVE our two mile section yet. We have put in culverts, those "little" metal pipes to move our rain waters through the ditches. Outside of our sub-division there are concrete overpasses over local streams. We can always tell when the County runs short of money. :)

    1. You get any snow at your elevation? If so, ask them if they're going to take responsibility for snow removal after it's paved. When I lived a mile off the paved roads, mine was a blade on the rear of a Ford 9-N tractor if it drifted higher than the 4WD could handle.


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