Our Opinion

Published 5:15 am Monday, August 6, 2007

By Staff
Bridges remain safe in county
The tragedy in Minnesota last week is a stark reminder that the infrastructure we take for granted every day - highways, bridges, interstates - is aging across the country.
That doesn't mean that all of our bridges will come crashing down in the way that the Minneapolis bridge did.
But lawmakers need to pay attention to the need to repair and replace infrastructure in our communities.
In Escambia County, we are lucky that most of our bridges and highways are not nearly as well-traveled as those in metropolitan areas.
And even before last week's collapse of the Minnesota bridge, county engineer Bill Bridges has been keeping track of the state's evaluation of all of our bridges.
Those that are classified as &#8220structurally deficient” are not unsafe, but they are on the state's list of those eligible for repair or replacement. In fact, in the past few years the county has replaced a dozen bridges using funds from a bond program and from county coffers.
We are lucky that most of our aging bridges in Escambia County are in rural areas that don't handle the kind of rush-hour traffic that was on the Minneapolis bridge when it collapsed. But across the state, we do have bridges that continue to need attention.
We urge the state to continue to keep a close eye on all of those bridges - and we urge lawmakers to free up funds where necessary to make improvements.
We pray for the families of those lost and injured in Minnesota - and we pray we will never see that kind of tragedy in Alabama.