Friday, August 03, 2007

Bridge collapse

I don't know the bridge that collapsed the other day. I've never been on it or at least I don't remember being on it during any of my trips to Saint Paul.

However, that such a bridge could fall was not beyond my imagination, even if I probably would have chalked it up as an unreasonable fear. There are dozens of huge bridges and elevated roadways in the New York area and if you happen to spend any time staring at the bottoms of most of them you can find yourself wondering how it is that they're still standing.

If you're stuck in traffic on the Deegan Expressway approaching the George Washington Bridge, it does your heart no good at all to look too closely at what you're about to drive on. The Tappan Zee? That was only built to last 50 years, a deadline that's already passed. And, whatever you do, never spend any time looking up if you find yourself underneath the Pulaski Skyway.

And, of course, 20 years ago a bridge over Schoharie Creek along the New York State Thruway collapsed, killing ten people.

These things happen. You like to imagine that the government agencies who are responsible for ensuring such things don't happen are infallible, but that's not possible.