Safety reviews are to be carried out on all American bridges similar to the one that collapsed in Minneapolis two days ago. Five people died and nearly a hundred were injured when the eight-lane road bridge gave way, sending around 50 cars plummeting into the Mississippi. The chances of finding any survivors among the eight still missing seem remote. Federal inspectors had rated the 40-year old structure as “structurally deficient”. More than 70,000 US bridges fall into that category. The same number again have an even worse rating: “structurally obsolete.” Concerns over ageing infrastructure have echoed across the country, none more so than in New York. One civil engineer there says the report from Minneapolis will help future safety reviews: “At this point we don’t know what happened there. So it’s impossible for us to pay more attention or to take direct action. Obviously it generally heightens our awareness of how serious and how dangerous it is. But until we find out more, there’s really little we can do.” Structural renewal is likely to be costly: a report in 2003 predicted that the government would need to spend nearly 10 billion dollars a year for 20 years to fully repair all the country’s bridges.
US bridges under scrutiny after Minneapolis collapse