GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 20 of 70 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,225 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are a lot of people in the United States right now who think the country is falling apart, and at least in one respect they're correct. Our roads and bridges are crumbling, our airports are out of date and the vast majority of our seaports are in danger of becoming obsolete. All the result of decades of neglect. None of this is really in dispute. Business leaders, labor unions, governors, mayors, congressmen and presidents have complained about a lack of funding for years, but aside from a one time cash infusion from the stimulus program, nothing much has changed. There is still no consensus on how to solve the problem or where to get the massive amounts of money needed to fix it, just another example of political paralysis in Washington.

Tens of millions of American cross over bridges every day without giving it much thought, unless they hit a pothole. But the infrastructure problem goes much deeper than pavement. It goes to crumbling concrete and corroded steel and the fact that nearly 70,000 bridges in America -- one out of every nine -- is now considered to be structurally deficient.

Ray LaHood: Our infrastructure is on life support right now. That's what we're on.

Few people are more aware of the situation than Ray LaHood, who was secretary of transportation during the first Obama administration, and before that a seven-term Republican congressman from Illinois. He is currently co-chairman of Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials that is urgently pushing for more spending on infrastructure.

Steve Kroft: According to the government, there are 70,000 bridges that have been deemed structurally deficient.

Ray LaHood: Yep.

Steve Kroft: What does that mean?

Ray LaHood: It means that there are bridges that need to be really either replaced or repaired in a very dramatic way.

Steve Kroft: They're dangerous?

Ray LaHood: I don't want to say they're unsafe. But they're dangerous. I would agree with that.

Steve Kroft: If you were going to take me someplace, any place in the country, to illustrate the problem, where would you take me?

Ray LaHood: There is a lot of places we could go. You could go to any major city in America and see roads, and bridges, and infrastructure that need to be fixed today. They need to be fixed today.

We decided to start in Pittsburgh, which may have the most serious problem in the country. Our guide was Andy Herrmann, a past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Steve Kroft: From up here you can see why they call it the city of bridges.

Andy Herrmann: Yeah. Between the highway and the railroad bridges. There's many of them.

Steve Kroft: And most of them old.

Andy Herrmann: Most of them old. They're nearing the end of their useful lives, yeah.

There are more than more than 4,000 bridges in metropolitan Pittsburgh and 20 percent of them are structurally deficient, including one of the city's main arteries.

Steve Kroft: This is the Liberty Bridge ahead? An important bridge for Pittsburgh.

Andy Herrmann: A very important bridge for Pittsburgh. A connection from the south to the city itself, and then to the north.

It was built in 1928 when cars and trucks were much lighter. It was designed to last 50 years -- that was 86 years ago. Every day in Pittsburgh five million people travel across bridges that either need to be replaced or undergo major repairs.

Andy Herrmann: One of these arch bridges actually has a structure built under it to catch falling deck. See that structure underneath it? They actually built that to catch any of the falling concrete so it wouldn't hit traffic underneath it.

Steve Kroft: That's amazing.



Andy Herrmann: It all comes down to funding. Right now they can't keep up with it. Three hundred bridges become structurally deficient each year in the state of Pennsylvania. That's one percent added to the already 23 percent they already have. They just can't fix them fast enough.

Pennsylvania is one of the worst states in country when it comes to the condition of its infrastructure, and Philadelphia isn't any better off than Pittsburgh. Nine million people a day travel over 900 bridges classified as structurally deficient, some of them on a heavily traveled section of I-95. Ed Rendell is a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania.

Steve Kroft: How critical is this stretch of I-95 to the country?

Ed Rendell: It's a nation's number one highway. Twenty-two miles of it goes through the city of Philadelphia. There are 15 structurally deficient bridges in that 22-mile stretch. And to fix them would cost seven billion dollars -- to fix all the roads and the structurally deficient bridges in that 22-mile stretch.

Rendell says no one knows where the money is going to come from and this stretch of I-95 has already had one brush with disaster. In 2008 two contractors from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation stopped to get a sausage sandwich, and parked their cars under this bridge.

Ed Rendell: And fortunately they wanted that sausage sandwich because they saw one of these piers with an eight foot gash in it about five inches wide. And oh, they knew automatically that this bridge was in deep trouble.

Continued:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/falling-apart-america-neglected-infrastructure/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44,440 Posts
This is soooo incredibly true. And attempts to try and fix it are usually halted or highly politicized — until the next bridge collapse.
That's the sad truth of it.


While the roads in the Bay Area aren't the best in the nation, I'm pretty happy with the fact that all the more important stuff, like fixing the major bridges (Golden Gate, bay Bridge, San Mateo) and transit corridors (BART, Caltrain, MUNI) are proceeding along as scheduled. And though, it hasn't been without its problems and budgetary nightmares, it's at least getting done. And then there's the **PERPETUAL** sewer and power work being done in SF that messes up traffic and will be on-going while they rip up all sewer lines and upgrade them. And that's a 20-year multi-billion dollar effort to replace the centuries old system. Toss in the retrofit of SF International Airport, along with building the most advanced airport tower in the country, which is also a sore spot for infrastructure negligence in the US, there's a lot of stuff going on.


But for other cities that can't or won't invest in this type of improvement? It's gonna hurt. Not now, but in the future. And it may cause lives.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,421 Posts
Agreed on nothing happening until another collapse occurs. And when a collapse occurs, we're promised fixes, until two parties reach an impasse. And then,... nothing.

My prediction on where the next collapse is going to happen?

Somewhere in Metro Detroit. The roads here are in such bad shape it's pathetic. It's actually incredible that a catastrophic bridge failure hasn't occurred here yet.

Ambassador Bridge:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,351 Posts
While I agree that there are many bridges that need replacing, many of them in declining cities like Pittsburgh.

However, to be balanced I see a lot of bridges being replaced in vibrant area's such as where I live (tri-state area). The Tappan Zee bridge replacement is under construction, numerous small bridges in CT and NY are being replaced. Last year NY replaced an eastbound and westbound bridge on i84 on the NY/CT boarder (and i think they did several others). Very cool to watch - these were small bridges that are overpasses to small local roads. As the highways are highly traveled they couldn't shut down the highway for a year to construct. So they built the new brides along side of the old ones, they built them on rails. When the time came they closed the highway down for an evening, quickly demolishing the old and sliding the new one's into place. CT is replacing tons of litte bridges going over brooks on local roads, etc - some that you don't even realize are bridges. So I don't think the whole world is lost....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,013 Posts
Roads and bridges are only one topic they discussed. In Los Angeles we've had two huge water main breaks/failures in the past few months. This is just a drop in the bucket and
it will only get worse. The infrastructure of any country is an asset and means to support the country as a whole. The infrastructure of the U.S. is falling apart, meanwhile, China
is building its infrastructure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,225 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've always heard that this was the case but I didn't realize just how bad it was.

In DC, the District Department of Transportation has been replacing bridges and everything is pretty well maintained.

This is another issue that is going to be a double whammy for depressed Midwest cities who are heavily dependent on roads, bridges, and car infrastructure. This is all about to hit those states right as their housing and job markets and tax bases are depressed. Honestly, I think it could be game over for these states.

Cities like DC, SF, and NYC, with our high tax base, compact infrastructure should be minimally impacted.

Maybe the Midwest can rebuild in a more intelligent manner that isn't purely automobile driven.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,225 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
While I agree that there are many bridges that need replacing, many of them in declining cities like Pittsburgh.

However, to be balanced I see a lot of bridges being replaced in vibrant area's such as where I live (tri-state area). The Tappan Zee bridge replacement is under construction, numerous small bridges in CT and NY are being replaced. Last year NY replaced an eastbound and westbound bridge on i84 on the NY/CT boarder (and i think they did several others). Very cool to watch - these were small bridges that are overpasses to small local roads. As the highways are highly traveled they couldn't shut down the highway for a year to construct. So they built the new brides along side of the old ones, they built them on rails. When the time came they closed the highway down for an evening, quickly demolishing the old and sliding the new one's into place. CT is replacing tons of litte bridges going over brooks on local roads, etc - some that you don't even realize are bridges. So I don't think the whole world is lost....
That's the same way they've been working in DC. They built new 11th St bridges last year. It's cool because they're turning the old 11th St bridge into a park spanning the Anacostia River.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...our-bold-visions-for-11th-street-bridge-park/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
Agreed on nothing happening until another collapse occurs. And when a collapse occurs, we're promised fixes, until two parties reach an impasse. And then,... nothing.

My prediction on where the next collapse is going to happen?

Somewhere in Metro Detroit. The roads here are in such bad shape it's pathetic. It's actually incredible that a catastrophic bridge failure hasn't occurred here yet.

Ambassador Bridge:

Mouron's greed at work.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Butz and Envoy4Life

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
36,300 Posts
One of the TV networks did an excellent, extensive report on this a few years back. Yes, I know, fat chance. Yet it DID happen!

They traveled the world and interviewd government officials, and essentially put together what they considered the best of the best methods and plans to fix/maintain infrastructure.

Good show, bears repeating. Will fish for it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,421 Posts
60 Minutes did a segment on this issue with a focus on Pittsburgh.

It's time to raise fuel taxes and get this ***** done.
Not to worry, Michigan just passed a new gas tax that's going to cost us double what it does now to "fix the roads".

I'll believe it when I see it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,557 Posts
This is soooo incredibly true. And attempts to try and fix it are usually halted or highly politicized — until the next bridge collapse.
That's the sad truth of it.


While the roads in the Bay Area aren't the best in the nation, I'm pretty happy with the fact that all the more important stuff, like fixing the major bridges (Golden Gate, bay Bridge, San Mateo) and transit corridors (BART, Caltrain, MUNI) are proceeding along as scheduled. And though, it hasn't been without its problems and budgetary nightmares, it's at least getting done. And then there's the **PERPETUAL** sewer and power work being done in SF that messes up traffic and will be on-going while they rip up all sewer lines and upgrade them. And that's a 20-year multi-billion dollar effort to replace the centuries old system. Toss in the retrofit of SF International Airport, along with building the most advanced airport tower in the country, which is also a sore spot for infrastructure negligence in the US, there's a lot of stuff going on.


But for other cities that can't or won't invest in this type of improvement? It's gonna hurt. Not now, but in the future. And it may cause lives.
When I visited SF, roads were horrendous.

Anyways I'm sure the wealth the top 1% job creators have amassed over the last decade will trickle down and fund some of these projects.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
10s of thousands of bridges, built to different specs/codes, by different companies/engineering firms, in different states/climates, with different loads, over 50-80 years… all failing rapidly in a seemingly short span of a few years…. to the current tune of 70,000.
Hm-mmm.
If a bridge was designed to last 50 years but instead --and with much greater loads than projected-- it's lasted 86 and counting, it obviously wasn't built to last merely 50 yrs. Just saying...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44,440 Posts
When I visited SF, roads were horrendous.

Anyways I'm sure the wealth the top 1% job creators have amassed over the last decade will trickle down and fund some of these projects.
YEs. Many of the more trafficked roads are bad. Just bad. But some of it has to do with the incessant construction that is happening right now. A lot of the other roads are great. They're worse in the South Bay tho.

The infrastructure projects in San Francisco are fully funded -- with by city, state, or federal funds. Thank you Feinstein and Pelosi. But not all cities can claim that. Many cities don't care.

I mean, FFS, SF has a major superfund site that is now being cleaned up, so a massive housing development can be built. Major infrastructure projects are late. VERY late. But at least they're being worked on. At least its funded or partially funded.

The major concern in SF right now is the sewer and the water system, especially we're in a major earthquake zone. It needs to be done now, "just in case." It's been at least a decade in the making, and there's still a decade or more left to complete the project.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,093 Posts
Maybe the Midwest can rebuild in a more intelligent manner that isn't purely automobile driven.
Except for Chicago, typical midwest cities don't have the population density to support massive transportation projects, nor should they. It isn't about being "intelligent," it's about needs and priorities.

There is no need for light rail in Des Moines.


DC is not the midwest.
DC isn't San Francisco either (it wishes it was that cool).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,043 Posts
When I visited SF, roads were horrendous.

Anyways I'm sure the wealth the top 1% job creators have amassed over the last decade will trickle down and fund some of these projects.
Pretty simple solution... public/private partnerships with infrastructure investment funds. Read up on them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,225 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
DC is not the midwest.
DC isn't San Francisco either (it wishes it was that cool).
Cool is subjective, but DC is definitely desirable, hence some of the highest home prices in the nation. DC and SF have more in common than not. St Louis has more in common with Detroit than anywhere else.

I define cool as somewhere laid back like Hawaii, where I could surf or ride my skateboard.

I lived in the midwest for a short time in Louisville, KY. I lived in the St Matthews area, pretty close to Bardstown Rd. Bardstown Rd, with its bar, restaurants, skateboard shops, head shops, boutiques, etc. I thought that area was pretty cool, and I still go back to visit a friend there every year or so.

I don't think of DC as a particularly cool or hip place. There's certain areas like H St NE, U St, etc that have some cool things, but overall, not that cool. But it is a great place to build a career, and that's why people come here, and then spring to some place cooler.
 
1 - 20 of 70 Posts
Top