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Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2007


The August 3, 2007 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota focused the nation’s attention once more on the grave state of aging infrastructure in the United States. Built in 1967, the Interstate 35W (“I-35W”) bridge was ranked “deficient” as of 2006 by the National Bridge Inspection Program. Nationwide nearly twenty-five percent of bridges are deficient; in fourteen states more than thirty percent of bridges are deficient. While a deficient rating does not necessarily imply impending collapse or breakdown, it does mean that elements of a bridge need to be monitored and/or repaired. Notwithstanding this definition, the disaster and the statistics beg the question: is the Minneapolis bridge collapse an ominous sign of problems to come for U.S. infrastructure, or a catalyst for a refreshed governmental approach to transportation infrastructure?