Archive for Thursday, August 2, 2007

KDOT secretary: Kansas bridges are safe

It is safe to travel across the bridges on the state highway system in Kansas,” she said.

August 2, 2007

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Collapsed sections of the Interstate 35W bridge lie in and next to the Mississippi River. The eight-lane bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during the Wednesday evening rush hour, plunging dozens of cars and people into the murky water below. At least nine deaths were confirmed.

Collapsed sections of the Interstate 35W bridge lie in and next to the Mississippi River. The eight-lane bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during the Wednesday evening rush hour, plunging dozens of cars and people into the murky water below. At least nine deaths were confirmed.

Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller said Thursday that Kansas bridges are safe.

"It is safe to travel across the bridges on the state highway system in Kansas," she said.

"If we thought there was any bridge on the state highway system that carried any risk of collapse, we would close that bridge immediately," Miller said.

Miller noted that the state highway system includes about one-fifth of the bridges in the state with rest maintained by local governments or the Kansas Turnpike Authority.

As a member of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, she said the turnpike bridge in Lawrence over the Kansas River is safe, even though work starts next year on replacing it.

Miller's comments came in response to the collapsed bridge in Minneapolis over the Mississippi River. Four were reported dead although as many as 30 people were reported missing.

"We are absolutely heartsick by what we saw on the news last night," Miller said of the incident.

But, she said, the collapse wasn't prompting Kansas to step up inspections of its bridges.

She said the state has a rigorous inspection schedule of its bridges.

"Our inspections are very current," she said.

There are 26,000 bridges in Kansas and approximately 21 percent of those are considered either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, Miller said.

Functionally obsolete usually means the bridge is more narrow than modern standards. A structurally deficient bridge doesn't mean its unsafe, she said. It means the bridge must be monitored closely.

The state highway system includes 5,000 bridges and about 10 percent of those are considered deficient, with most of those being designated functionally obsolete, she said.

Comments

imastinker 7 years, 10 months ago

this is breaking news?

What information does Deb Miller have today that she didn't have yesterday?

oldgoof 7 years, 10 months ago

stinker: just information that millions are wanting to read/listen to today that they would not read/listen to yesterday. Part of this is due to Fox/Cnn/papers overuse of the inside-baseball term of "structurally deficient" bridges.

KsTwister 7 years, 10 months ago

"There are 26,000 bridges in Kansas and approximately 21 percent of those are considered either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, Miller said."

Yeah, no reason to worry at all? Could someone tell her when a bad one does fail she will have some explaining to do. Fixing the top of a bridge doesn't bring the guarantee for the base. Take levies for example.

Ken Miller 7 years, 10 months ago

After seeing endless replays of the I-35W bridge tumble in MN, people want to be reassured that the same thing won't happen where they drive. Missouri is checking some of their truss bridges today as a precaution. All Sec. Miller is trying to do is reduce the (rampant?) fear that occurs after such a tragedy.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 9 months ago

sad so sad. Now not real sure how to feel about this artical seems to contradict its self.

fletch 7 years, 9 months ago

In the face of a tragedy, it's best to become overwhelmingly irrational, freak out, and jump to conclusions.

Or we can sit back, wait for the cause to be found (as opposed to what the collective wit of 24/7 news network stars), and then address any real concerns once we have real data to work off of.

Jack Hope III 7 years, 9 months ago

It's Deb Miller's job to say what she said. It's what people want to hear.

While I suspect that Kansas bridges are safe, I have always been suspicious of government bidding policies that mandate using the lowest bid. Look at the Big Dig in Boston as an example of profits overwhelming good building practices. Don't we generally get what we pay for.

It makes you wonder how well they rebuilt the Perry-Lecompton bridge.

My thoughts are with the families of those that didn't make it home last night.

gphawk89 7 years, 9 months ago

I love how bridges all over the United States are urgently being inspected... AFTER a tragedy has already occurred. Anyone ever heard of preventative maintenance? Somewhat unrelated, but my community just started an urgent mosquito spraying program... a day AFTER someone here contracted the West Nile virus. Why can't federal/state/local governments step up and take some responsibility to prevent problems before they occur? It happens over and over - drives me crazy.

KS 7 years, 9 months ago

The article does contradict itself. A report published in the LJW in 2/20/2001 said there were 25,720 bridges in Kansas and 25.9% were deemed deficient. That really doesn't show any great improvement over the last six years. Then again, what should we expect, our gas tax dollars go into the general fund for social issues in the state versus road and bridge repair which is their intended use. I get a little spooked when I drive across the KTA bridge on the Kansas River.

Chicago_JHawk 7 years, 9 months ago

KsTwister - did you read the rest of the article? It defines "structurally deficient" and "functionally obsolete", and does not mention those descriptions as meaning less safe.

fdalpd 7 years, 9 months ago

sandrat said "While I suspect that Kansas bridges are safe, I have always been suspicious of government bidding policies that mandate using the lowest bid. Look at the Big Dig in Boston as an example of profits overwhelming good building practices. Don't we generally get what we pay for."

Not true, KDOT letting process for construction services and engineering consultation is different. Construction services are let out to the lowest bidder, however, due to the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse in 1981 engineering consulting services are now let out by choosing up to three firms and interviewing them. After the interview process, the most qualified firm is chosen.

KsTwister 7 years, 9 months ago

Drive on any functionally obsolete bridge lately?

Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 9 months ago

KsTwister wondered "Drive on any functionally obsolete bridge lately?", a nice rhetorical use of these terms to create a visceral reaction in readers. Let's try that with the definition substituted, and see how it works:

"Drive on any bridges more narrow than modern standards lately?"

To which the answer is almost certainly "yes" and, in many cases, one likely doesn't even notice. "Functional obsolescence" is industry jargon that communicates something different to traffic engineers than the rest of us who use laymen's terms.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 9 months ago

Deb Miller is a career bureaucrat and makes statment to protect the agency and not to do her job which is to provide safe transportation in the State of Kansas. Here unqualified statment is just polishing her own apple. Well folks in the CJonline here is an article about the extreme weathe and the havac it is visiting on the bridges and roads.

Here is the link:

http://cjonline.com/stories/080207/bre_rain.shtml

I do not trust any gaovenmental ageny in what they say about their own work. Katrina Fema, the breakdown of the CIA and NIS, the EPA and KDHE not doing their jobs.

Our governmental agencies are broken... and thje only thing they are ionterested in is protecting their reputation... not your life.

"The stability of a few bridges is uncertain and under review, officials said. "

ccraven 7 years, 9 months ago

Repsonding to Wilbur_Nether (Anonymous) : blah, blah, bah, Try this on for size:

According to the latest National Bridge Inventory conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, Kansas has more than 25,000 bridges. Of those, about 5,400 are considered Structurally Deficient (SD) or Functionally Obsolete (FO).

Structurally Deficient: any bridge that (1) has been restricted to light vehicles only, (2) is closed), (3) requires immediate rehabilitation to remain open. Functionally Obsolete: any bridge in which the deck geometry, load carrying capacity (comparison of the original design load to the State legal load), clearance, or approach roadway alignment no longer meets the usual criteria for the system of which it is an integral part.

63BC 7 years, 9 months ago

Didn't the Governor want to divert turnpike tolls to university maintenance? Isn't that money supposed to go for things like bridge repair/replacement?

Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 9 months ago

ccraven wrote: :Repsonding to Wilbur_Nether: blah, blah, bah, "

Wow. That was clever, articulate...it certainly demonstrates the folly of my previous post.

Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

ASBESTOS is correct and knows his bureaucrats! This reminds me of similar statements KDOT made almost exactly one year ago about "Baldwin Junction" one of the most dangerous intersection in Kansas! Between 2002 and 2005, 36 accidents occurred at the intersection - 17 resulting in serious injury and numerous deaths. Eventually the carnage and pending election forced KDOT to put in a four-way stop, rumble strips, and lights. It might be informative to note that despite KDOT's ludicrous claims that the intersection was already safe, since the improvement to this intersection there has been one accident, with no serious injuries. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/aug...

So now comes KDOT's Ms Miller claiming 21% of 26,000 bridges in Kansas are considered either "structurally deficient or functionally obsolete" but nonetheless is safe! Honestly, you have wonder what dictionary KDOT's found it's definitions of safe, because the phrase "structurally deficient or functionally obsolete" doesn't leap to my mind when I think of a safe bridge. I wonder how much carnage it will take this time for KDOT to do more than monitor and actually fix our "safe" bridges??

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