One would think the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis on Aug. 1, 2007, would be enough of a wake-up call for the nation on the dangers of neglecting road and bridge repairs. Thirteen people were killed and 145 people were injured when the bridge collapsed, sending cars and a school bus tumbling to the river below.
It sent a harsh warning to the nation that our bridges are being allowed to deteriorate and are in need of repair, and that many are no longer capable of handling increased traffic demands and need to be replaced. One would think the nation would have jumped up and take care of this disaster in the making.
But the response has been too little. Last week, the I-5 bridge in Washington State, about 60 miles north of Seattle, collapsed into the Skagit River after a semi truck hit an overhead span. Three people were rescued from the river.
There are many questions raised by this latest incident, but the main one is the one raised after the I-35 bridge collapse - what is going to be done to prevent this from happening again?
Federal and state officials must focus more money and emphasis on fixing and replacing bridges that thousands of people every day trust will carry them safely over rivers and gorges.