Once upon a time, America’s infrastructure was a source of national pride
That gratification has been severely curtailed by the critical condition that many of our roads, bridges, tunnels, and pipelines are now in. Both main political parties agree that the system needs to be fixed, but little progress has been made on how to accomplish that goal, and public spending on infrastructure is at its lowest point in almost 70 years. Just how bad is it? Let’s take a closer look.
Once every four years, the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) comprehensively assesses and grades the country’s major infrastructure categories. As experts who design, build, maintain, supervise, and operate construction projects and systems in the public and private sector, the ASCE’s members are well qualified to provide the evaluation. Measuring the criteria of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation, the ASCE gave our national infrastructure a “D+” rating in 2013. It also calculated that to sufficiently upgrade the network by 2020 would cost $3.6 trillion.
The ASCE’s last report card gave the Bluegrass State an overall “C” rating. Kentucky bridges were given a “D,” with more than 1,200 bridges labeled structurally deficient (this designation means a bridge needs to be replaced or repaired in a “dramatic” way). State roads also received a “D” rating due to growth of congestion, delays, and substandard pavement. Seven percent of the state’s major public roads are in poor condition, and driving on roads in need of fixing costs each motorist $315 every year.
In the last ten years alone, there have been dozens of accidents around the country caused by failing bridges, rail lines, and roads. In 2013, an oversized truck clipped an outdated girder causing a bridge collapse in Washington. Two days later in Missouri, derailed train cars hit an overpass support pillar causing the bridge to fall. In 2007, a Minnesota bridge collapsed during rush-hour traffic because of too much weight. In Illinois and Wisconsin, netting has been used to protect drivers from concrete falling off bridges. Deteriorating pipelines full of essential but dangerous fuels are rupturing so often that annual explosions are responsible for 13 fatalities and 59 injuries. And, despite toxicity health issues, some major U.S. cities still have 100 percent lead piping delivering water from utility companies to homes and businesses.
With roads built decades ago now handling exponentially more cars than they were designed for, gas and water pipelines disintegrating, and one in nine bridges considered to be structurally deficient, the next accident is just around the corner. The Circle Interchange in Chicago, the Baltimore City Sewer System, and the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky have all been identified as high-profile projects that need attention. In the case of the Brent Spence Bridge, it has been estimated that 1.6 million gallons of fuel and 3.6 million hours are wasted annually because the 1963 bridge is now overwhelmed with traffic from two interstates. In fact, motorists are three to five times more likely to have a wreck along the bridge corridor than on any other portion of the interstate systems of Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana. Even more concerning, the bridge was deemed to be “functionally obsolete” – back in 1998. If you want to learn more about dangerous bridges in your area, check out the Save Our Bridges interactive map.
The National Transportation Safety Board has urged policymakers to invest more in transportation safety and infrastructure. Until they do, we are all at risk. The disrepair of our transportation infrastructure is a serious matter, with serious consequences. If you have been hurt in a bridge or road wreck, you may be entitled to a variety of damages, including compensation for medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. If a loved one has died after an accident or injury caused by a hazardous bridge or road condition, you may have a valid wrongful death claim.
No matter what your situation, the dangerous infrastructure wreck attorneys of the Johnson Law Firm pledge to work closely with you every step of the way. Founding attorney Billy Johnson has been named a Super Lawyer by U.S. News & World Report as well as an American Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 trial lawyer. You can rely on his experience with the legal system and his commitment to his clients to help you get the best result possible. Because each case has its own unique set of circumstances, we invite anyone who has been the victim of a Pikeville KY vehicle wreck to call 606-437-4488 or fill out this form to schedule your free initial consultation.
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