Aging infrastructure seems like a recurring political topic that doesn’t affects us on a daily basis other than a pesky construction site clogging our morning commute. But when analyzing the problem, however, America’s roads, dams, bridges, and pipelines are in need of desperate repair, meaning a multitude of construction projects around the country.
An unfortunate event occurred at one of these sites, in Bonney Lake, Washington, when concrete debris from an overpass construction project collapsed on a truck carrying two adults and their infant child. All passengers were killed in the incident.
The WSDOT-approved project had been occurring for weeks, and the City of Bonney Lake received state and federal funding to add a sidewalk for pedestrians and bicyclists to existing highway. Part of the project called for tearing down part of the bridge.
Nearby motorists recall hearing cracks in the concrete just prior to the collapse with the moving truck. According to CNN, authorities continued their investigation Tuesday, April 14, but initial findings were that there was an ongoing construction project on the highway and a side jersey barrier came loose and fell onto the roadway, as described by Officer Todd Green of Bonney Lake Police Department.
“The damage was so severe it was impossible to tell how many victims were in the vehicle. The only thing we had was we could tell there was one victim,” said Green according to the article.
Police said the contractor was working on a small portion of the permanent bridge barrier when the whole section fell down.
According to Public Works Director Grigsby, construction plan said that if any portion of overpass was coming down, the contractor would shut down the road. Nothing was scheduled to come down on Monday, the day of the incident.
Although this investigation is still pending, the topic of construction negligence is one all motorists, workers, and bystanders should be cognizant of during this period of American reconstruction. Many more projects have started or will shortly. According to a study done by the American Society of Civil Engineers, America receives a “D+” for their infrastructure status, and the World Economic Forum rates the United States 16th in the world for quality of infrastructure.