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Saturday, August 04, 2007

President Bush Visits Site
Of Collapsed Minneapolis Bridge

President George W. Bush was in Minnesota most of this morning, observing the wreckage caused by the collapse of the Minneapolis I35-W Mississippi Bridge earlier this week.

From the Australian Broadcast Corporation:

    After a helicopter survey of the site, Mr Bush met with and praised survivors and rescue workers and promised a rapid rebuilding of the span.

    "I have been impressed by not only their determination but I've been impressed by their compassion," he said.

    "We want to get this bridge rebuilt as quick as possible.

    "Out of these tragedies can come a better life."

    Earlier, transportation secretary Mary Peters said a review of the nation's state-based bridge inspection program has been ordered to "make sure that it's as robust as it needs to be."

    She said the department ordered immediate inspections of the country's 750 arch truss bridges similar to the one that collapsed in Minneapolis, just two years after an inspection cited "structural deficiencies" in that span.

    States also hurried to inspect others, leading to the closure of a bridge in Florida.

    In Missouri, home to the largest number of river bridges in the country, totalling 55, Governor Matt Blunt ordered an immediate inspection of 11 arch truss bridges.

    The eight-lane interstate highway bridge feeding into Minneapolis broke up into the Mississippi River on Wednesday afternoon (local time) as some 100 cars and trucks were lined up on it in rush hour traffic.

    Ms Peters has sought to assure the people the country's infrastructure is not dangerous.

    "America's highways and bridges are safe," she insisted.

America's highways and bridges are indeed safe. What happened to the Minneapolis Bridge is an exception, not the norm. Yes, perhaps the U.S. needs to apply more thorough inspections for bridges and roads in the future, holding them to a higher degree of standards than we have in the past. What happened in Minneapolis is the exception to the rule, not the rule.

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