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U.S. has 63,000 bad bridges

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Under the glare of floodlights, as late-night drivers and early-morning commuters shared the same traffic backup before dawn Thursday, three lanes of the Capital Beltway closed to let repair crews patch a mega-pothole on the bridge over Kensington Avenue.

It was a bad pothole on an otherwise sound bridge, but the potential for bridge repairs to gum up the works was telling on a day when new federal data revealed that there are 63,000 U.S. bridges in need of more significant repair.

“These are bridges where drivers and first responders are crossing over 250 million times each and every day,” said Alison Premo Black, an economist with the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the group that compiled the federal data.

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It doesn't surprise me one bit. All we do here in the US is patch over problems.

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Really doesn't surprise me, you should have seen this bridge I use to drive across everyday. It had big holes in the pavement and you could see the river below plus a lot of the guard rails were missing. Thankfully they replaced it years ago.

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I thought there would have been a bigger push to fix these problems, after the Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapse.

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I thought there would have been a bigger push to fix these problems, after the Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapse.

If I recall, when that bridge collapsed, hadn't they just started or were planning to start shortly a tax-payer funded multi-million dollar renovation on the Metrodome?

And that's part of the problem. Fixing bridges, sewer systems, etc. isn't sexy enough for politicians. It's good PR to cut the ribbon in front of a new stadium, not as good to cut it in front of a reparied bridge.

Additionally, one of the problems we face here in NY State (and I assume elsewhere) is unfunded state mandates that eat up huge portions of tax revenue.

https://www.monroecounty.gov/upstate_county_executives_announce_mandate_relief_commission

In some cases, unfunded mandates (medicaid, etc.) plus draconian and outdated union retirement plans eat up close to 75-80% of county tax revenues. Not much left for maintaining roads, schools, bridges, etc.

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Posted (edited)

This is a huge challenge to a technologically advanced society... how is all of the old infrastructure to be repaired or eventually replaced without incurring an ever-increasing cost?

Each part is a whole problem in itself... like these bridges, or all the old water supply piping underground, slowly rotting away and springing new and bigger leaks...

Nothing lasts forever, and every single thing we build will eventually fall apart with age. Think of every city and every building and everything within them having to be replaced...

Which also brings up the problem of where do you put all the ever-increasing garbage from all the old stuff?

Edited by Hugh

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The US political system is headed for some sort of catastrophe. At least that is the message I get from the above posts, which blame politics for the problems.

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The problem is caused by that very American problem that the future is considered to be next payday,

It is not enough with building something, you also have to think that this something will need upkeep, and that you have to save up the means for that upkeep. Or in plain English: Just 'cause you have the money it does not mean that you can spend it freely without regarding the future.

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