Letter: Which of CT’s 338 Deficient Bridges Will be the Next Mianus Bridge Collapse?

Letter to the editor from Jackie Kaiko, Greenwich, April 13, 2019

To the Editor,

The Mianus Bridge Event

At 1:28 am on June 28, 1983, 100 feet of the then 30-year-old Mianus River Bridge collapsed, dropping two tractor trailer trucks and one car 70 feet down into the river below. Three drivers were killed, including the driver of the car that was crushed under one of the trucks. The cause of the collapse was the failure of two of the bridge’s rusted pin and hanger supports, deemed to have been the result of insufficient inspection resources in the state.  It drew national attention to the problem of deferred bridge maintenance and the state’s aging infrastructure.

CT Infrastructure in 2019

Today, in the State of Connecticut, there are 338 bridges that are rated structurally deficient – they have an average age of 69 years versus an expected life of 50 years. Four of these bridges are over 100 years old. The average age of all bridges in the state is 53 years.  And roads:  7% of state roads are rated “poor”.

Facts and Choices

We need the amount and kind of investment in transportation infrastructure that tolls could pay for as a shared expense of Connecticut users of the roads and the 40% of users from out-of-state: not bonds that would give a 100% tab to Nutmeggers and a free ride to out-of-staters (whose tolls we pay and whose roads we invest in.)

Another difference between the two plans:  the tolls plan wouldn’t crowd out bonding for investments in our schools and universities and in other crucial state infrastructure  – the alternative “Prioritize Debt” scheme would.

So, this question, while we dither:

Which of the deficient 338 CT bridges will be the next “Mianus River Bridge Event”?

Jackie Kaiko