Monday, August 03, 2015


IMHO:  States and cities are paying for NOT having a year-by-year infrastructure maintenance schedule that was adhered to.  Repair was always put off to pay for other priorities, and now such repairs are much more expensive.

"States struggle with needed transportation fixes after years of cutbacks" PBS NewsHour 7/30/2015


SUMMARY:  Potholes, vulnerable bridges, a lack of sidewalks -- following years of cutbacks in federal transportation funding, states are feeling the pinch.  In Oregon, the NewsHour’s Cat Wise explores pressing infrastructure funding needs, like alternative forms of transportation, traffic reduction measures and preparing for a massive earthquake that many predict will hit in the state within 50 years.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  As we reported earlier, after much debate, Congress today passed a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund.  But years of cutbacks in federal and local transportation funding are being felt in communities around the country.

The NewsHour’s Cat Wise takes a look at some of the key transportation issues facing Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding region.

CAT WISE (NewsHour):  Early one morning this week, as thousands of commuters drove overhead, Oregon bridge inspector Joel Boothe hoisted himself 100 feet up in the air and got to work.

Boothe was doing a routine inspection of one of the state’s busiest bridges, the Marquam Bridge built in 1966.  It carries about 90,000 vehicles a day on Interstate 5 over the Willamette River near downtown Portland.  Unlike some of the other bridges in Portland, it’s in fairly good shape, but it’s still got some issues.

JOEL BOOTHE, Bridge Inspector:  So, question, on both sides of the location of those general hanging locations, we have had problems.

CAT WISE:  Issues that are being closely monitored by the state’s chief bridge engineer, Bruce Johnson.

BRUCE JOHNSON, State Bridge Engineer, Oregon Department of Transportation:  They found some pack rust, so we have got some corrosion going on.  We’re losing some section in our steel.  The other issue, this bridge has had a lot of fatigue cracking.

And, of course, we have mitigated the cracks by doing repairs, but we’re concerned about the performance of our repairs and how the cracking is going.

CAT WISE:  Johnson says that maintaining bridge safety is a huge task for the state.

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