Interesting news on the infrastructure front comes from Washington, where a new span of the Tacoma Narrows bridge opened today with a ribbon cutting, public walk and other festivities. From the Seattle Times:
The new Tacoma Narrows Bridge is the longest suspension bridge built in the U.S. since 1964; a partially suspended bridge is being built between San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. Construction of the $849 million Tacoma bridge began in late 2002. The project also includes seismic improvements to the existing 1950 bridge.
The state Department of Transportation has a full schedule of today’s events here,
including a nice piece of transparency, the budget and sponsors for the celebrations. You can also gets a full fact-sheet from the WDOT on this page.
The NAM closely follows infrastructure issues, as transportation — by rail, truck, airplane, cargo ship , etc. — is an essential component of the manufacturing sector, obviously. Doubling the capacity of the Tacoma bridge is good news.
The new span also reminds one of the most famous — infamous? — moments in U.S. engineering history, the collapse of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Nov. 7, 1940. The original design proved susceptible to high winds, which set the bridge undulating; it eventually shook itself apart, collapsing into the sound. The University of Washington’s special collection materials are available here, and a brief history is here. The collapse was well-documented on film, and you can see excerpts here.
A welcome development, the completion of a major bridge. May there be many more.
UPDATE (7:15 p.m.): Information on the retrofitting and construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is available here, at Baybridgeinfo.org.
UPDATE II (11:50 a.m. July 16): A reader directs us to a blogger — “The Doctor is In” — who has followed the bridge construction on his website. Great resource.
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