Barry B. LePatner TOO BIG TO FALL America's failing infrastructure and the way forward
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Chapter 1: A Tale of Two Bridges

“Is it true that the I-35W Bridge collapsed in 2007 because of a design flaw that went undetected when the structure was designed, fabricated, and constructed in the mid-1960s? Should standard bridge inspection procedures at the time have detected the design error before the bridge was completed? Why and how did the bridge remain operational for forty years with such a critical design flaw? Were engineers on the staff of MN/DOT wrong to have overlooked the error when two lanes were added to the bridge in 1977, and a median strip constructed in 1994? Do the maintenance and inspection records for the bridge reveal other factors that were minimized or overlooked by the NTSB during its investigation? This book challenges the official findings and offers a far more alarming explanation for the tragic end of the I-35W Bridge.”
—p. 11

“The NTSB’s findings virtually ignored over sixteen years of inspection reports that showed continually deteriorating structural conditions, factors that were highlighted in several outside engineering reports commissioned by MN/DOT. These reports, which detailed the frailties of this fracture-critical bridge, made a series of recommendations—which went largely unheeded—for addressing the problems resulting from neglected maintenance.”
—p. 12

“For much of the last twenty-five years, Americans have been averting their eyes from the condition of the roads and bridges that provide the vital transportation lifelines of our nation. Filling potholes and hoping for the best will no longer do. Politicians who learn of the need to remediate deteriorated bridges in their communities can no longer continue to allocate most of the limited transportation funding to contracts for election campaign contributors who build new roads. Our collective failure is systemic, not individual, and expresses itself in a historic reluctance to pay for maintenance, as opposed to new construction.”
—p. 40


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Tale of Two Bridges
Chapter 2: Following the Money: Road and Bridge Funding and the Maintenance Deficit
Chapter 3: No Sense of Urgency: The Politics and Culture of Road and Bridge Maintenance
Chapter 4: Finding the Money
Chapter 5: The Technological Imperative
Chapter 6: The Way Forward