Tuesday, August 7, 2007

the edge of reason

The recent collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis underscores again how much of the country totters on an aging infrastructure, although one would have to wonder why we can't build bridges or sports stadiums to last for more than 30 years. The collasped bridge was constructed in 1967 and by the mid-70's was being listed as being in disrepair- which sounds more like a definition of shoddy workmanship.

The Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway bridge over Tampa Bay, is an example of some newer bridge designs that stretch the boundaries of the open span by incorporating higher strength steel into the construction. The length of the open span, like the height of buildings, is an architectural boundary that gets constantly pushed in an effort to explore the edge of reason.

An interesting note on Bob Graham, former Florida Govenor, former U.S. Senator, and one-time presidential candidate. While campaigning in his first gubernatorial campaign, the then State Senator, untook the task of working for 100 days in a series of jobs that regular Floridians might do. These ''workdays'' as he called them, found Graham picking up horse poop and trash, cutting hair, picking tomatoes, waiting tables, and playing Santa Claus and propelled the relatively unknown Graham into the governor's office. Graham continued to perform workdays during his tenure as a politician. During his 25-year politcal career, Mr. Graham 'worked' a total of 365 days. During that same time frame, the average American will have logged 50,000 work days.

Photo: Thomas Bender/Sarasota Herald-Tribune via the NY Times

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