Barry B. LePatner TOO BIG TO FALL America's failing infrastructure and the way forward
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Chapter 3: No Sense of Urgency: The Politics and Culture of Road and Bridge Maintenance

“Should the NTSB have evaluated, for example, how MN/DOT’s leadership dealt with the conflicting advice received from its engineers and the information received from the state’s accountants and managers, who were responsible for allocating transportation funds for all roads and bridges on a statewide basis? Why were the engineering consultants’ reports highlighting the perilous state of the I-35W Bridge totally ignored by MN/DOT and the state government, which led to the decision to defer needed replacement for the bridge deck for more than a decade? Did all of MN/DOT’s professional engineers agree with these decisions, or did they accede to a bureaucratic mandate to minimize repairs in order to keep their jobs? And if any of these factors were valid concerns, why did the NTSB not deem them worth including in its report, so that other state transportation agencies could learn from what went wrong in Minnesota?”
—p. 86 - 87

“The NTSB report and accompanying analysis contains significant flaws, especially its primary attribution of the bridge’s collapse to the failure of one of its component parts. A careful review of the bridge’s history in the sixteen years before the collapse highlights significant warning signs that, due to officials’ overcautiousness, misjudgment, or refusal to provide funding to make needed repairs, placed this bridge on the certain path to eventual failure. Any fair reading of the record must lead to the conclusion that no one associated with the I-35W Bridge ever exhibited the sense of urgency over its critical condition required to prevent this disaster from occurring.”
—p. 93


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