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I have always been scared of bridges August 6, 2007

Posted by Jeff in "Reality has a well-known liberal bias".

As a kid, I would freak out whenever we drove over a big bridge, especially high bridges over water, like most of the Hudson River bridges … the George Washington, the Tappan Zee, and especially the Bear Mountain Bridge …

Mianus River bridge collapse, Cos Cob, CT, June 1983

On June 28, 1983, the Connecticut Turnpike Bridge over the Mianus River collapsed, sending cars and trucks seventy feet into the water and killing three people (the collapse happened at 1:30 am, or the toll would have been much higher). It turned out that repair crews had paved over the bridge drains, allowing water to leach into the bridge supports and rusting them. I grew up 23 miles from this bridge, I must have crossed it hundreds if not thousands of times in my life.

According to this 2005 report, 21% of all the bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient and 14% are functionally obsolete. From the same report:

  • Cost to Eliminate Current Deficiencies: $78 billion

  • Average Annual Cost to Maintain Status Quo: $5.2 billion

  • Average Annual Cost to Eliminate Existing and Accruing Deficiencies: $8.2 billion

  • Estimated Current National Expenditures: $5.0 billion

Why are my fears less rational than the fear of terrorists?

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