I know a lot of people would like to see Route 81’s overpasses demolished rather than have it continue to cut through the heart of downtown Syracuse… but I think most people would prefer that they not be demolished with cars driving on top of them (and people walking, and living, beneath them). Wednesday’s collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis reminded one of the Schoharie Creek Bridge collapse on the Thruway 20 years ago, where 10 people died. (And, more recently, the deaths on I-88 due to a collapsed culvert in last year’s floods.) In Cayuga County, a bridge to Haiti Island (a rural community analogous to Jacks Reef) collapsed last weekend.
I don’t know how safe 81 is, but it would be nice to get some reassurances. In New York State, 2,110 are listed by the federal government as “structurally deficient” while 4,501 are “functionally obsolete.” There are probably around 20,000 bridges in the state whose condition is tracked.
Updated: According to today’s PS, Route 81’s local overpasses just underwent a major upgrade. (Since I drive by these overpasses every day, you’d think I would have known that… oh well.) But check this out. It’s a county-by-county map of deficient bridges across the U.S., circa 1994.
I don’t know whether to laugh, or let out a bloodcurdling scream. One hopes the map is way out of date.