ROAD KILL: I-95 Not Safe At Any Speed

BridgeConservativismKills.jpgINQUIRER: Interstate 95 through Philadelphia will be shut down for at least two days as contractors rush to repair a crumbling support column. A jagged crack, about 8-feet long and two inches wide, was discovered on a concrete pillar late Monday night as an inspection crew traveled under the highway near Cambria Avenue in the city’s Port Richmond section. For the next two days, both northbound and southbound Interstate traffic will be detoured onto city streets creating nightmares for commuters and neighborhood residents.Work was scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. to build a support structure that will take the weight off the column.

Rebar — exposed, twisted and rusted — could be seen this morning where the concrete had been shorn away from the pillar. It is one of three 15-foot-high concrete columns that support the interstate where it runs over Richmond Street between Ann and Cambria Streets. Though the highway is in no danger of immanent collapse, PennDot officials this morning said it was best to “err on the side of caution” and shut the roadway down for at least two days. The most highly trafficked highway on the East Coast, the section of I-95 that passes through the city was built in the 1960s and carries about 190,000 vehicles a day, a PennDot spokesman said. MORE

RELATED: Throughout the five-county Pennsylvania region, there are 404 bridges that, like the Minnesota bridge, are designated “structurally deficient” and rated at or below 50 percent on a sufficiency scale. The local bridges are among 25,000 state-owned bridges identified Monday, along with their condition ratings, in a list released by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. PennDot had refused for months to release bridge-safety ratings of state-owned bridges, but agreed to make them public after the Minnesota collapse.
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NOTE: One out of every four bridges in the United States is rated ‘structurally deficient’ or in need of repair. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers repairing ALL the nation’s bridges would cost roughly $9.4 billion a year for 20 years or roughly $188 billion. In four years the U.S. government has spent $450 billion funding the war in Iraq.

RELATED: By Mr. Fish



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