The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the U.S. infrastructure a grade of D in 2001 after the attacks of Sept. 11. It was a dreadful report that showed that the nation was not in good shape for normal operations, much less dramatic disasters. The Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans in 2005 should have underscored the need to take care of our infrastructure. But the U.S. infrastructure earned an even worse grade--D minus--in 2005. And the major bridge collapse in Minneapolis this year again pointed up the need for a major investment in infrastructure.
Twenty-seven percent of our nearly 600,000 bridges are structurally deficient or obsolete. This means that every state in America has bridges ready to fail like the Minneapolis Interstate 35W span. Wake up, Department of Transportation. The Minneapolis span, built in 1967, is not an isolated design; it is a 458-ft. steel, arched span over the Mississippi River. There are 756 similar bridges in the United States.
Manufactured items and the materials that go into them almost always travel by roads, rails, or airfreight. None of these sectors has anything to crow about. The ASCE's 2005 report card gave aviation a D plus and navigable waterways a D minus. Roads went from a D plus in 2001 to a D; and rails received a C minus.
Compounding this national dilemma is the fact that our seaports are inadequate to receive big ships and handle the immense container traffic they bring. There is not a single major bright spot in any part of the U.S. Infrastructure.
Source: Managing Automation, www.managingautomation.com
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