Today marks seven years since the 35W bridge collapse. MnDOT had deemed the bridge “structurally deficient” in a 2005 review, and after the bridge collapsed the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered agencies in all 50 states to inspect their bridges, and repair or replace any that were structurally unsound.
Funding our state’s transportation needs and investing in our roads and bridges is critically important. MnDOT reports that half of Minnesota’s highway pavements and 35 percent of its bridges are more than 50 years old, and says the highway system faces a $12 billion funding gap over the next 20 years. That’s just for roads and bridges.
“The state, at this point, is not able to move forward with many critically needed projects that are very vital to this region,” said Rocky Moretti, Director of Policy and Research for TRIP, a national transportation research and advocacy group.
Transportation might not be the most exciting area of the state or federal budgets, but it’s absolutely crucial that we have the funds to make sure our roads and bridges are kept in good condition so that they continue to be safe to drive on for Minnesota families.
I don’t think that Minnesotans will ever forget where they were when they heard about the 35W bridge collapse. I was just about to start college, and by the time all my classmates arrived on the Macalester campus in August, the bridge collapse was still on everyone’s mind – especially parents sending their children off to college. Minnesotans are encouraged to gather at the 35W bridge memorial site tonight at 6:05pm to take part in a moment of silence to remember the victims of the tragic event.
Photo credit: Flickr