SAVE OUR BRIDGES

On August 1, 2007, the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during rush hour, killing 13 people and injuring 145. The bridge had been designated as structurally deficient, due to insufficient maintenance, and fracture critical, because the failure of a single component could result in the failure of the entire structure. These designations are not unique. There are 7,980 other bridges in the U.S. that have been designated structurally deficient and fracture critical. These bridges are still in use in communities across he U.S. today and pose a danger to the public unless they are soon remediated.

Since the I-35W Bridge’s collapse, other dangerous bridges have been identified and closed. As recently as September 8, 2011, inspectors closed the I-64 Sherman Minton Bridge carrying six lanes of traffic across the Ohio River between Louisville, Kentucky, and New Albany, Indiana. This bridge, like the I-35W Bridge, was designed as fracture critical and was rated by inspectors as structurally deficient. It could have collapsed had serious cracks in the bridge not been discovered. While the Sherman Minton Bridge was closed in time, similarly designed bridges remain open.

If there is a dangerous bridge in your area, you need to know about it.

Our companion iPhone app lets you look at dangerous bridges while on the go!
    Science Friday

Recently, Barry LePatner had the honor of speaking at Mobility 21’s 11th Annual Southern California Transportation Summit. To watch his speech or to read a transcript of his speech, please click the links below.

Video | Speech Transcript

To listen to an interview Barry gave shortly before his presentation, click here.

 

Barry LePatner warned of the dangers associated with the nation’s bridges on a recent CBS This Morning segment. Watch it here.

Listen to Barry LePatner on NPR’s Science Friday.

 

What is the Save Our Bridge Map?

Save Our Bridges is an interactive map which allows the public to easily locate bridges in their area that are classified as both structurally deficient and fracture critical.

Created by Barry B. LePatner, lawyer and author of Too Big to Fall: America's Failing Infrastructure and the Way Forward (University Press of New England, 2010), the intention of the map is to raise public awareness of the state of America's infrastructure by pinpointing hazards close to home.

Click here to view the map.

  How did U.S. Bridges Get This Bad?

Since its inception, money collected as part of the federal gas tax has been used to build and repair the nation’s roadways. Unfortunately, not all of the tax revenue collected is utilized for the maintenance and care of our infrastructure. A large percentage of the funds are diverted to new construction projects and congressional earmarks. Too often, the less glamorous job of infrastructure maintenance and repair is neglected.

To learn more about the collapse of the I-35W Bridge, please click here.

  What are the Solutions?

With tight budgets, public officials say there is no money for infrastructure repairs, but, the fact is that deferred maintenance only adds to our national debt. Repairing the top 2,000 bridges will cost $60 billion and employ 1.2 million construction workers. During the recent recession, the construction industry was one of the hardest hit sectors. Putting unemployed workers back to work will help stimulate the economy. Further ensuring that all of the fuel tax revenue is used for its intended purpose, and raising awareness among the public are crucial to solving our infrastructure problems.

The difficult truth revealed by the Save Our Bridges Map is that the nation’s leaders can’t wait any longer to provide the needed funding to make our bridges safe. They must act now.