2007August6, Monday

Bad Bridges in Your Neighborhood

Posted in News at 10:03 by Trey Austin

Sunday, i preached from Luke 13:1-9 and Amos 4:6-13 on the message of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, MN. Of course, this was a terrible tragedy, but as Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will likewise perish.”

That God is sovereign even in tragedies like this shouldn’t be debated. At the same time, though, we should not abdicate our responsibility that God has laid upon us as moral agents in his good creation. To that end, you may be interested to see a state-by-state list of “deficient” bridges (some more deficient than others) listed by county with the rating that each has. Just thought some of you might want to check these out in your own communities so you can be better informed.


  1. tempe said,

    Trey, thanks for the link to the deficient bridges (and a little scary to note that I drove over two of those “obsolete” bridges yesterday). My understanding is that politicians in MN were too busy funding the building to a rail system (the “billion dollar choo-choo” as I heard one individual call it) to worry about rebuilding this bridge. The legacy of pork barrel politics, I suppose.

  2. Trey Austin said,

    Well, i would love to see all the states in our Union be more concerned with rail transportation. If you’ve ever lived in Europe, you’ll know how well rail transportation works in helping people get from place to place both in short distances and long distances (the former with lower speed trains, and the latter with high-speed trains). Imagine being able to ride a bullet train from Greenville to Atlanta in an hour! Or Columbia to Raleigh in two! Regional, and even possibly national, airfares would drop due to competition.

    But you’re right. Any focus on rail travel should not supercede what is currently more in use throughout our nation. It was the height of carelessness to let that bridge (reported as increasingly deficient for the past 17 years!) fall when it could have reparied it properly or rebuilt it. Of course, if we weren’t giving all our money to the Federal Government, we wouldn’t be so unhappy about state taxes. This is just one more symptom of an overall broken system of government. We can’t support it because, much like the bridge in Minneapolis, the original intent of our government was not that it should carry so much weight, and now that it has become top-heavy, we can no longer bear up under the load. Our nation will soon collapse if we don’t do something to change our government back to the way it was intended to function.

  3. tempe said,

    I received an email from a friend in the Twin Cities area this afternoon after my initial post. According to him, the rail system (which was built to connect the airport with the Mall of America) did cost over a billion dollars (although budgeted for about $500 million) and will continue to cost the folks of MN $10,000,000 a year in operating expenses after rider fees are taken into account. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve nothing against rail transportation (I have no problem taking MARTA to the airport or a Braves game, for example), as long as it is cost efficient. This rail system apparently was/is not, and it was built so that fat-cat politicians could brag to their constituents about the wonderful project they had brought to their state while a deficient bridge was neglected for 17 years.

    But Luke 13 was a great passage to preach. We had to exegete that passage in Dr. Heinson’s preaching class at Erskine back in the fall of 2001. He had selected the passage back during the summer, but it was a little eerie looking at that passage only a week or two after the Towers in NY fell.

  4. David Gray said,

    Having lived in England for six years I greatly appreciate the virtues of rail. For them to be practical however a certain level of population density is required and we really don’t achieve that outside the eastern seaboard. I’m from Minnesota, I’ve family that regularly crossed that bridge, goodness knows how many times I have, I took my oath for the air force just a few blocks from there. From all the back home reading I’ve done I don’t think the politicians can get much of a slam on this. The engineers all indicated no immediate problem. What this drives home is the need to review the principles and practices of current bridge inspection policy. Clearly some presuppositions were unwarranted.

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