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Thread: I-5 Bridge Collapse Shows Bridge Repair Needs Across U.S

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    I-5 Bridge Collapse Shows Bridge Repair Needs Across U.S

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...dgets-sag.html


    I-5 Bridge Collapse Shows Bridge Repair Needs Across U.S

    The bridge collapse on Interstate 5 north of Seattle this week highlighted the nation’s aging infrastructure and the lack of significant improvements in the six years since 13 people died when a Minnesota span fell.

    Investigators haven’t determined what caused the failure of a section of the bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon, Washington (BEESWA), after a truck struck some of its steel girders. The collapse followed the commitment of $48.1 billion in U.S. economic-stimulus funds for transportation projects since 2009

    Governor Jay Inslee said state and federal officials are working to devise a temporary replacement, known as a Bailey bridge, to end traffic detours on the north-south highway that runs the length of the U.S. West Coast. State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said yesterday the bridge should have withstood the blow from the passing truck.

    The accident turned attention back to the age of the nation’s transportation system. The 607,380 bridges in the U.S. are 42 years old on average, and 1-in-9 are rated “structurally deficient,” according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, which advocates more spending on such structures.

    “There are many places -- and probably the one that just collapsed is an example -- where bridges are being maintained but not replaced or improved to the extent they need to be because of the lack of available funds,” said Joshua Schank, president and chief executive officer of the Eno Center for Transportation, a research institute based in Washington, D.C.

    Slight Improvement

    The engineers group gave U.S. infrastructure a D+ rating in a report this year, with bridges scoring better at C+. That’s an improvement over 2009, when the last report card came out and gave them a C. The organization said fixing deficient spans would take $76 billion.

    “There’s been more investment at the fed and state levels,” Casey Dinges, senior managing director of the Reston, Virginia-based engineers association, said in an interview. “There’s been more focus on bridges.”

    The condition of urban spans hasn’t kept up with the national average and remains a concern, Dinges said. Vehicles make more than 200 million trips a day across bridges in the 102 largest metropolitan areas of the U.S., he said.

    The 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in downtown Minneapolis during rush hour sent cars plunging into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people. The tragedy spurred calls in Congress to raise federal fuel taxes, which didn’t happen.

    Unchanged Tax

    Increasing spending on replacing or overhauling bridges wouldn’t be easy to achieve because 80 percent of most highway-project money comes from the fuel-tax fed U.S. Highway Trust Fund. The federal levy on gasoline has been 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993, and sales have slowed with declines in miles driven and improvements in vehicle efficiency.

    “If we keep on the same trend line of investment, where we’re not increasing investment, we are going to have to worry in the future,” said Janet Kavinoky, executive director for transportation and infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest U.S. business lobbying group.

    President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic-stimulus package in 2009 poured $48.1 billion into highway and transit projects, yet accomplished little in terms of long-term improvement to bridges and other such infrastructure, Kavinoky and Schank said in interviews.

    “A lot of places decided to do things like fill potholes and resurface streets,” Schank said. “It’s an emphasis on creating jobs instead of creating long-term economic growth. That emphasis means that transportation is not being thought of as a long-term driver of economic growth.”

    I-5 Accident

    A section of the 1,112-foot (339-meter) I-5 bridge collapsed two days ago at about 7 p.m. local time, dumping several vehicles into the river below and injuring three people. No one died, authorities said.

    “Based on our inspections, the bridge is not structurally deficient,” Peterson said at a briefing in Mount Vernon, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) from Seattle. The bridge was subjected to a close inspection of impact damage by state transportation workers about six months ago, identifying tears and deformations, the Associated Press said yesterday.

    Inslee, a Democrat, said a Bailey bridge is a temporary structure to replace the 160-foot section that fell. He suggested that federal funds may cover as much as 90 percent of the cost. He didn’t provide a timeline.

    ‘We are now engaged in a full-scale pursuit of trying to restore this artery of commerce as quickly as we can,” he said yesterday at a news briefing. The section of I-5 links Seattle to Vancouver.

    ‘Obsolete’ Bridge

    The four-lane steel truss bridge that fell was built in 1955 and was considered “functionally obsolete,” according to the National Bridge Inventory Database. It carried an average of 70,925 vehicles a day. The span’s superstructure was rated as “fair,” meaning it was structurally sound with minor flaws such as cracks or pitting in its girders, according to the database report.

    Out of more than 7,000 bridges in Washington, at least 540 were in the same condition or worse, according to the database.

    About 14 percent of U.S. bridges were considered functionally obsolete in 2011, the most-recent year available, according to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.

    National Transportation Safety Board investigators are probing the causes of the I-5 collapse.

    “Our mission is to understand not only what happened but why and how it happened,” Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said yesterday at another briefing in Mount Vernon. “We want to make sure we do not have events where interstate bridges drop into the waterway below them. That is not what we expect.”

    Some Dangerous

    While the fallen span hadn’t drawn attention for its earlier condition, other bridges in the U.S. have been identified as potentially dangerous.

    In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is replacing the 57-year-old, 3.1-mile Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River. The span, about 20 miles north of Manhattan, was supposed to last for 50 years. It carries 138,000 vehicles a day between Westchester and Rockland counties, 40 percent more than its designers intended.

    New Jersey will close its Pulaski Skyway, a major route to the Holland Tunnel and Manhattan, to New York-bound traffic for two years starting in 2014 for a $1 billion reconstruction project, raising concerns about commuting delays.

    The 3.5-mile bridge, which has two 550-foot spans that cross both the Hackensack and Passaic rivers and was built about eight decades ago, carries 67,000 vehicles a day.

    It has deteriorated since opening in 1932, and is “functionally obsolete” because certain features, including road width, no longer conform with modern standards, according to the New Jersey Transportation Department website. The Skyway has two 11-foot-wide lanes in both directions with no shoulders.

    State lawmakers have said the bridge wasn’t properly maintained for decades.

    The Skyway, which cost $20 million to build, is included in the National Register of Historic Places because of its historically significant design.



    To contact the reporters on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net; James Nash in Los Angeles at jnash24@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

  2. #2
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    Bridges > cell phones.

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    Remember that trillion-dollar stimulus that in large part was going to put Americans to work "rebuilding our roads and bridges," and all the "shovel-ready jobs" that were waiting? And then how that trillion disappeared down the rat-hole of union payoffs, porkulus and friends/supporters of the messiah?

    That.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shakin318 View Post
    Remember that trillion-dollar stimulus that in large part was going to put Americans to work "rebuilding our roads and bridges," and all the "shovel-ready jobs" that were waiting? And then how that trillion disappeared down the rat-hole of union payoffs, porkulus and friends/supporters of the messiah?

    That.
    This times infiniti - Obama and his lapdogs are a joke and we were taken to the cleaners. Let me guess - they want more stimulus money from us.

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    Thanks Obama!

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    Maybe the US should invade its own country to spread democracy and then it will be okay to spend billions in tax money on roads, bridges, tunnels etc etc. Then we can watch that money disappear down the rat-hole of crony capitalist friends as these private companies charge taxpayers $75 for a light bulb;

    The whistleblowers describe a company that paid inflated prices for goods and services on a daily basis and then passed these overcharges on to the U.S. taxpayer. An approach of "don't worry � it's cost-plus" may be lucrative for Halliburton, but it should be of great concern to the government and the taxpayer.

    High-level Halliburton officials frequently told employees that the high prices charged by vendors were not a problem because the U.S. government would reimburse Halliburton's costs and then pay Halliburton an additional fee. One whistleblower said that a Halliburton motto was: "Don't worry about price. It's cost-plus."

    Wasteful Spending: Ordinary vehicles were leased for $7,500 a month. Higher prices than necessary were paid for furniture and cellular phone service. Poor quality mobile homes were purchased and accepted even though much better units were available. Under Halliburton's cost-plus contract, all of these wasteful expenditures were passed on to the taxpayer. The company even sought to order embroidered towels at a cost of $7.50 each when ordinary towels would have cost about one-third of the price.

    Avoiding Competition Among Vendors: Halliburton's objective was to keep as many purchase orders as possible below $2,500 in value so its buyers could avoid the requirement to solicit quotes from more than one vendor. Instead of having multiple vendors submit competitive quotes for needed materials and selecting the lowest quote, Halliburton frequently sought only one quote from a single vendor.

    Inviting Unjustifiably High Quotes: It was routine for Halliburton buyers to copy a requisition, hand it to a single Kuwaiti vendor, and tell the vendor to submit any quote below $2,500 the next day. The focus was not on obtaining a reasonable price.

    Relying on an Inadequate List of Preferred Vendors: Halliburton supervisors provided buyers with a list of preferred Kuwaiti vendors. Many of the preferred firms were unreliable or charged "outrageous" prices. Supervisors did not encourage buyers to identify alternative vendors and, in some cases, wanted to use a higher price vendor on the preferred list rather than a new, cheaper vendor.


    http://multinationalmonitor.org/mm20...ch04corp3.html

    Remember when unions waste tax money we call it a sin, when its done by private companies we.....still blame unions anyway.

    On the bright side, I bet they would find WMDs this time...

    Last edited by intelligentjetsfan; 06-04-2013 at 06:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by intelligentjetsfan View Post
    Maybe the US should invade its own country to spread democracy and then it will be okay to spend billions in tax money on roads, bridges, tunnels etc etc. Then we can watch that money disappear down the rat-hole of crony capitalist friends as they charge taxpayers $75 for a light bulb;

    The whistleblowers describe a company that paid inflated prices for goods and services on a daily basis and then passed these overcharges on to the U.S. taxpayer. An approach of "don't worry � it's cost-plus" may be lucrative for Halliburton, but it should be of great concern to the government and the taxpayer.

    High-level Halliburton officials frequently told employees that the high prices charged by vendors were not a problem because the U.S. government would reimburse Halliburton's costs and then pay Halliburton an additional fee. One whistleblower said that a Halliburton motto was: "Don't worry about price. It's cost-plus."

    Wasteful Spending: Ordinary vehicles were leased for $7,500 a month. Higher prices than necessary were paid for furniture and cellular phone service. Poor quality mobile homes were purchased and accepted even though much better units were available. Under Halliburton's cost-plus contract, all of these wasteful expenditures were passed on to the taxpayer. The company even sought to order embroidered towels at a cost of $7.50 each when ordinary towels would have cost about one-third of the price.

    Avoiding Competition Among Vendors: Halliburton's objective was to keep as many purchase orders as possible below $2,500 in value so its buyers could avoid the requirement to solicit quotes from more than one vendor. Instead of having multiple vendors submit competitive quotes for needed materials and selecting the lowest quote, Halliburton frequently sought only one quote from a single vendor.

    Inviting Unjustifiably High Quotes: It was routine for Halliburton buyers to copy a requisition, hand it to a single Kuwaiti vendor, and tell the vendor to submit any quote below $2,500 the next day. The focus was not on obtaining a reasonable price.

    Relying on an Inadequate List of Preferred Vendors: Halliburton supervisors provided buyers with a list of preferred Kuwaiti vendors. Many of the preferred firms were unreliable or charged "outrageous" prices. Supervisors did not encourage buyers to identify alternative vendors and, in some cases, wanted to use a higher price vendor on the preferred list rather than a new, cheaper vendor.


    http://multinationalmonitor.org/mm20...ch04corp3.html

    Remember when unions waste tax money we call it a sin, when its done by private companies we.....still blame unions anyway.

    On the bright side, I bet they would find WMDs this time...

    How are those "green" companies working out? San Fran nan's brother in law sends 750 million hello's

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    Quote Originally Posted by acepepe View Post
    How are those "green" companies working out? San Fran nan's brother in law sends 750 million hello's
    Hmmm, since there is one of these at every light on almost every street I drive through, I would think some of those green companies are working out just fine.

    Last edited by intelligentjetsfan; 06-04-2013 at 06:54 AM.

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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by intelligentjetsfan View Post
    Hmmm, since there is one of these at every light on almost every street I drive through, I would think some of those green companies are working out just fine.



    Not many funded by Obama. And not many in the US either.
    The ones funded are folding or moving to China. GE, which is not getting anything from Obama's payoff service, does a decent job on solar as well as wind as well as nuclear. All without gov help.
    And please get off the Halliburton BS.
    As an "intelligent" person, please comment on what other companies are available to provide all that they do/did.
    Further, if they are such a rip off operation, how come they make such a small profit? I do not own shares but am aware of them. They pay tax at a 47% rate BTW. That's even higher than Buffet's secretary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by intelligentjetsfan View Post
    Maybe the US should invade its own country to spread democracy and then it will be okay to spend billions in tax money on roads, bridges, tunnels etc etc. Then we can watch that money disappear down the rat-hole of crony capitalist friends as these private companies charge taxpayers $75 for a light bulb;

    Predictable deflection by the Baghdad Bob of JI.

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    Quote Originally Posted by intelligentjetsfan View Post
    Hmmm, since there is one of these at every light on almost every street I drive through, I would think some of those green companies are working out just fine.

    Right... a picture of a lamp post is real intelligent. Facts are these companies are dying without subsidy.

    Perhaps if we eliminated the department of education and a few others we could solve these problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    Perhaps if we eliminated the department of education and a few others we could solve these problems.
    YES! Bridges collapsing....

    Use that as an excuse to eliminate govt. depts you don't like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2® View Post
    YES! Bridges collapsing....

    Use that as an excuse to eliminate govt. depts you don't like.
    If you looked at government finances like I did as a CPA, you would see the waste, upon waste, upon waste. The dept of education didn't even exist until 1976. Since it's inception we spend more and get less.

    Its not that I dont like them... they are arguably not needed in any form at the federal level.

    Let's let the states sort out education and take those funds and fix the bridges.

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    If memory serves, this bridge did not collapse due to structural problems or poor maintenance (even if both may have been in evidence).

    It collapsed because a greak wonking over-height truck ran right into it due to not following over-height-restriction route adherence.

    In any event, road infrastructure spending is like any other, it's either a priority or it's not. For Greens, it's odd to see them want more road funding, given the non-green nature of current roads and vehicles.

    With that said, if you do want more road funding, the answer is quite simple:

    1. Prioritize it over other spending.
    2. Ensure what you spend is well spent, not $2 Billion spent to build a $10 million dollar road (watse in state DOT agencies is rampant).

    I can think of a few hundred things I'd cut in order to fund better road/transit projects......but only if there was some assurence that these projects weren't simply political handouts to favored contractors, and that whats spent is what we get.

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    +1 on the stimulus argument.

    Where the fvck did that money go? I know Joe tells us that GM is alive and OBL is dead but surely that didn't cost a trillion dollars.


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    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    If you looked at government finances like I did as a CPA, you would see the waste, upon waste, upon waste. The dept of education didn't even exist until 1976. Since it's inception we spend more and get less.

    Its not that I dont like them... they are arguably not needed in any form at the federal level.

    Let's let the states sort out education and take those funds and fix the bridges.
    Whether you get less is debatable... but funny to watch the same people whining about "where did the money go" who want to close an unrelated dept. they dont like....wait for it...to throw more money at the problem!

    Why not take the money from defense?

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    Being a CPA proves you know how and why money was spent in all of the gov't? That's comical.

    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    If you looked at government finances like I did as a CPA, you would see the waste, upon waste, upon waste. The dept of education didn't even exist until 1976. Since it's inception we spend more and get less.

    Its not that I dont like them... they are arguably not needed in any form at the federal level.

    Let's let the states sort out education and take those funds and fix the bridges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cr726 View Post
    Being a CPA proves you know how and why money was spent in all of the gov't? That's comical.
    Any less comical than your typical chest-puffing that you are a subject matter expert in every aspect of Government and Law Enforcement?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    Any less comical than your typical chest-puffing that you are a subject matter expert in every aspect of Government and Law Enforcement?

    LOL, find a post where I have ever claimed to be a expert, having experience is one thing being a expert is something else.

    Ah the bitter Warfish is back, different name same game.............

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    Quote Originally Posted by cr726 View Post
    Ah the bitter Warfish is back, different name same game.............
    Yet he speaks the truth...

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