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Monday, May 27, 2013

It Was More than Just a Bridge that Failed

Posted by on Mon, May 27, 2013 at 11:23 AM

The Seattle Times editorial board is both right and wrong in its assessment of state transportation spending in the wake of the I-5 Skagit River bridge collapse. Right in its call to prioritize spending more on "infrastructure maintenance" and less on "sexy new projects," but wrong in its narrow definition of "infrastructure maintenance."

Immediately, some politicians began to suggest the collapse of the 165-foot span over the Skagit River was a case study on the cost of deferred infrastructure maintenance.

But that narrative does not seem to fit the facts. Instead, the collapse, as described by state officials, suggests an obsolete bridge design exploited by a freak accident.

By all means, Olympia should focus on repairing or replacing our 135 "structurally deficient" state bridges first. Those pose the most immediate threat to public safety and commerce. But even a well-maintained "functionally obsolete" bridge (as the Skagit River span was officially designated) should be beneath the standards of Washington State. Far from a "freak accident," a WSDOT report finds that the bridge had previously suffered a number of "high load hits," with at least eight sections where the steel was bent or dented by hard hits from trucks carrying loads too tall to clear the bridge.

Should replacing a 58-year-old structurally sufficient—but functionally obsolete—bridge like the Skagit River span be considered a sexy new project? I don't think so. But either way, it would be a mistake to lose sight of our transportation infrastructure as a whole for the sake of focusing on individual structures. Even a writer at the car-hating Stranger will admit that sometimes expanding capacity can be just as critical to maintaining public safety and commerce as maintaining the structures we already have.

But the bigger lesson to learn from the Skagit River bridge collapse is that government matters. This is a reminder of the irreplaceable role our tax dollars play in maintaining the quality of life and economic prosperity of our state. The debate the Seattle Times raises about transportation spending priorities is one well worth having, but reprioritizing alone cannot fix all our problems if there isn't enough money to go around. For there is also a strong argument to make that we are not spending enough money as a state—on roads, on bridges, on transit, on education, and on other crucial public infrastructure and services—to either meet our current needs or to prepare for the future. And it would be foolish to debate spending without debating revenue.

That is a debate I'd hope the editorial boards would welcome too.


Comments (68) RSS

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Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 1
Before we spend any more money we need to purge Olympia of the ideologues who hate most of Washington State, its suburbs and even some low density King County neighborhoods.

In two decades of unprecedented growth, they have not built one new highway. Not one! Yet billions were spent on a choo choo that carries one third the passenger traffic of this bridge.

People are being made to fund a government that is not in their interest and actively works against their desires.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on May 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Infrastructure is a legitimate concern and responsibility of government.

To bad your HomoLiberal Socialist Welfare State blows BILLION$ on social programs that serve only to corrupt the populace and has nothing left over for bridges and roads........
Posted by Using Tax Dollars for Toilet Paper is not Enlightened on May 27, 2013 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Uhhh, which "site" was lost? Was it the bridge location? I am confused...;-D
Posted by pupuguru on May 27, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 4

Unfortunately, that's the price of democracy.

Posted by Tacoma Traveler on May 27, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Goldy 5
@3 Just once I'd like somebody to politely point out a typo. It would be refreshing for a change.
Posted by Goldy on May 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Goldy 6
@1 You know full well that state tax dollars do not fund Sound Transit. The regional rail system we are building is being paid for entirely with local dollars. In fact, due to subarea equity, the various subareas within ST can't even legally subsidize each other.

So your comments are total bullshit. ST has zero to do with state transportation spending.
Posted by Goldy on May 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
The teabagger times doesn't want money spent on anything other than their military. Its the conservative way.
Posted by S T on May 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 8
Goldy, why are you so grouchy lately?
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on May 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 9

"Sound Transit is consuming $500 million in Federal funds to build the 14 mile Initial Segment of light rail. This money is governed by the terms of a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA)."…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on May 27, 2013 at 12:53 PM · Report this
rob! 10
A proposal to replace this bridge would certainly have been considered "a sexy new project" the day before it collapsed.

It's a fool's game, and intellectually dishonest on the part of the ST, to bandy about squishy terms like "structurally sufficient/deficient," "functionally obsolete/up-to-date," or even "safe/unsafe," that have little concrete meaning for the average person.

A minimal truss, like this bridge's segments, is an elegant thing in the abstract, but when the failure of ONE girder or fastener or link can result in a cascade of failures (the "fracture critical" definition) approximating total collapse, it doesn't take an engineer to wish for a little more redundancy in the structures one depends on daily for safe transit. Other kinds of trusses, especially those where the structural elements are out-of-reach of vehicles upon them, and suspension bridges are obviously more redundant and reliable even to a layperson running on empirical understanding alone.

And to say that an oversize-load truck approaching an overhead obstruction without adequate signage, on a roadway that necessarily and visibly narrows to 1950's-standard widths and clearances (check the Google Maps overhead view) represents any kind of "freak accident" (no one could have foreseen!) is a complete and total joke.
Posted by rob! on May 27, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this

you're losing it, asswipe
Posted by not that you actually ever had it..... on May 27, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
devinderry 12
Well, when only 12¢of every dollar spent by WSDOT goes to preservation & maintenance it’s no surprise that shit falls apart:…

Sadly there’s nowhere near as much money to be made preserving existing things as there is in building new stuff.
Posted by devinderry on May 27, 2013 at 1:08 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 13
Why is WSDOT working with Sound Transit on I-90?

WSDOT is collaborating with Sound Transit to make the best use of tax-payer transportation dollars, moving more people, more efficiently through one of the state's busiest rush-hour commutes.…

And this is the tip of the many indirect ways that WSDOT fails in its mission of transportation and instead uses its tax money for forced social engineering.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on May 27, 2013 at 1:08 PM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 14
@1 @9

Bailo you're as full of shit as ever.

Using the anti-transit group CETA's argument? Those clowns supported the monorail till it imploded. $200 million tax payers dollars spent with nothing to show for it.
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on May 27, 2013 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Machiavelli 15
The item that hit the bridge?
Over sized oil drilling equipment. Oversized in both height & width. The oil company knew the hazards of oversize transport of their equipment when they plotted the trip from Edmonton, CA to Vancouver WA. The oil company set up the delivery scheme, schedule, methods and means.

To avoid the known hazards of big oil's operations, the oil industry has set up networks of subcontractors intended to give them plausible deniability. "It was the trucking company, it's not our fault". Large industries hiding behind sub-contarctors is an age old dodge. US Industries have been engaged in dangerous, dirty and polluting endeavors for hundreds of years. Laws that hold Corporations accountable are key to balancing the common good with private profits. Peter Cooper polluted a Kips Bay pond in Manhattan so badly it needed to be drained and cleaned, because it was making thousands of people sick. Basically the first super fund site. That is how we as a country learned the cost of industrial development and made laws protecting health the common good.

The Oil Company set this up, directed the operation, contracted the transport of their oversized equipment on public roads and should be held accountable for 100% of the economic impact. If Boeing, Apple or Ford hired a trucking company to knowingly transport toxic or dangerous loads across country, set up a course on public roads that resulted in foreseeable catastrophic damage and injury, the law would hold them accountable.

Blaming the bridge design, maintenance, signage, the trucker, the pilot car are all missing the point. The culpability of the contracting oil company is the point. Does it make sense that we hold Apple accountable for overseas working conditions but an oil company can show complete negligence in their operations costing taxpayers easily 100's millions in damages and lost revenues and they get off by claiming... "the trucking company did it"
Posted by Machiavelli on May 27, 2013 at 1:11 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 16

I enjoy being socially engineered. That's why I read and believe in the Stranger writers.
Posted by dnt trust me on May 27, 2013 at 1:13 PM · Report this
@ 8 Phoebe why are you so rude and inappropriate...always?

You think it odd that Goldy is grumpy while our infrastructure is falling down because idiots like you and the Seattle Times keep calling for tax cuts and screaming about "wasteful spending"?

Well it seems damn appropriate to me.
Posted by Madame Chintoa on May 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM · Report this
sperifera 18
@2 - Building and maintaining an infrastructure is by definition a social program, so what's your point?
Posted by sperifera on May 27, 2013 at 1:19 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 19
State and Local Assistance

State and local financial assistance includes funds
that are either granted directly to Sound Transit, or are
provided as a credit against taxes or fees that would otherwise be levied on construction activities by
other units of government. The agency has commitments from other jurisdictions for providing
funds for
ST Express
and Sounder projects. Such revenues are not included in the
Financial Plan
until agreements
with other jurisdictions are signed…

But really even among "local" taxes we still get systems that are overbuilt for Seattle downtown when our Transportation (not transit) needs are multi point with places of interest spread all around the commercial and employment areas of Salish Sea.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on May 27, 2013 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 20
You can't simply prioritize based on the condition of the bridge. This bridge carried 70,000 cars a day. That means the probability of a freak accident is 70,000 times greater than another bridge on some lonely back road that only sees one car a day. The bridge with little traffic can have the weight limit lowered, lanes removed, and it can even be closed, and the impact would be minimal.

But a high-traffic bridge with relatively less wrong with it is a much greater potential threat, and directly impacts the welfare of thousands and thousands of people.

On top of that, the potential for loss of life is far greater on a high traffic bridge than one with hardly any.

And that boils down to prioritizing money to where the people are, and not diverting spending out to the unpopulated east side of the state because we allocate seats in the statehouse to empty land.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on May 27, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 21
@17, is your name Goldy?
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on May 27, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
Big Sven 22
The Stranger used to hire journalists. The kind of people who would have felt it was beneath them to get in name-calling arguments with their readers. Man, those were the days.
Posted by Big Sven on May 27, 2013 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 23
"Sexy new Projects" = Sports Palaces.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on May 27, 2013 at 2:20 PM · Report this
It is going to be interesting to see how the Columbia River Crossing gets funded (or not), in light of the Skagit River Bridge collapse and increased awareness of infrastructure needs.

Tax me. Please.
Posted by Fizgig on May 27, 2013 at 2:22 PM · Report this
Goldy 25
@9 That's the rhetorical equivalent of screaming "Squirrel!"

Go ahead... find me the dollar amount of the state contribution to funding Sound Transit's light rail system. (Hint: It starts with a zero.)
Posted by Goldy on May 27, 2013 at 2:34 PM · Report this
south downtown 26
Seattle has a roads/bridges backlog, per SDOT, of over $1.8B. Many of these roads and bridges are in critical condition. And that does not include non-arterials, about 60% of our streets inventory, for which SDOT doesn't even track road condition.

Yet we too keep putting money into the sexy, such as yet another plan for connecting downtown to the U -- a route that already has good bus service and, soon, a $2B subway connection.

We too have our revenues/spending head in the sand...
Posted by south downtown on May 27, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this
Screaming Squirrel?
Posted by Merchant Seaman on May 27, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 28
@20 what about the 5 structurally unsafe bridges on I-5? Do those come before the obsolete bridge?
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 27, 2013 at 2:46 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 29
Goldy, you're at odds with yourself. You want to spend more because the federal dollars have dried up, but haven't even bothered asking why about that. This bridge was on I-5 for fuck's sake. How did the national transportation funding dry up so hard recently? Oh yeah, corporate tax cuts, loopholes, and other lack of income, plus military overspending.

But, you haven't looked into that yet. Or even talked about it? Why not? Oh, I know this answer. Because it would stand in the way of overtaxing gasoline. With the 10¢/gal increase, we'd have the third highest gas tax in the country. COUNTRY! Let's also remember that gas taxes are severely regressive and affect the poor more than the affluent, and you're trying to strongarm us into even higher regressive taxation than we already have. But you support progressive taxation, right? How does this tax work within your mission statement of fixing the regressive taxation in this state? Let me give you a hint: IT DOESN'T.

Besides that, you're completely dismissive of the lack of response to the previous series of hits. If the bridge had been hit several times before, why hasn't signage been put up? Why was the WSDOT spokesperson all "bridges don't need height signage"? Isn't this, in large part, a story about inadequate response to previous impacts? The bridge was supposedly structurally sound, if obsolete. So long as nobody drive through with a load that was larger than the bridge could handle.

But, yes, let's make this a story about underfunding. It's part of the state story. But, this is not an example of that story. Of this bridge had been replaced before the other bridges that actually need it, that would be severe mismanagement. And, if all other projects had been complete, it would be wasteful overfunding.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 27, 2013 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Goldy, you bloated fuckwit, we get it: You want an income tax. Everything you write just reeks of it. But Goldy, you bloated fuckwit, we aren't going to have an income tax. It failed in every single county, including King County. This means that WA State will never spend as much money as you want it to.

Move to California, you bloated fuckwit.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 27, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
emma's bee 31
@30: I am glad to see you write this. It wasn't too long ago that Sloggers were accusing Goldy of being insufficiently supportive of the WA income tax. The only proof one needs of the wisdom of a state income tax is the status of downtown Vancouver, WA: the town populated by WA residents who do all their shopping in Portland to avoid the WA sales tax and live in WA to avoid the OR income tax. It does not appear particularly thriving.
Posted by emma's bee on May 27, 2013 at 4:40 PM · Report this
@18 - You are by definition a moron, so what's your point?
Posted by stop drooling on the keyboard...... on May 27, 2013 at 5:00 PM · Report this

Goldy's only sexual release these days, since no human female will let him touch her, is to release a squirrell in his pants....

Posted by "Squirrell!" on May 27, 2013 at 5:05 PM · Report this
If we can't afford to fund what we need, then why not a decent 80% solution. If loads like this one are what render our bridges functionally obsolete, then there's a very very simple solution. Don't allow them on the roads. Let those who require expensive new things lobby for them or pay for them. Why are we even talking about subsidizing very small niche industries by providing public subsidies in the form of big expensive bridges?
Posted by kinaidos on May 27, 2013 at 5:20 PM · Report this
word3 35
@15 - you are so right!

All this other nattering is both a distraction and a waste of time in the face of such obvious culpability.
Posted by word3 on May 27, 2013 at 5:31 PM · Report this
word3 36
Though I do agree with Goldy's basic point that government matters! I hope the state goes after Mullen Trucking.
Posted by word3 on May 27, 2013 at 6:07 PM · Report this
Goldy 37
@30 Why always the angry veneer? Why don't you stop by Drinking Liberally tomorrow night for a chat and a beer, and see if you can keep your anger up in person?
Posted by Goldy on May 27, 2013 at 6:23 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 38
@31 He's being a sarcastic fuckwit here. Obviously, Goldy isn't arguing for an income tax here, but the passage of the transpo bill with the completely regressive tax hikes it includes in it.

The big problem of that bill was that it also didn't reduce the sales tax in the state. So, it was yay more taxation!

P.S. I voted for it, but there was no sufficient change of funding from regressive tax to progressive tax. It was just progressive tax ON TOP OF regressive tax. The only real way it would pass is if people saw it as a transfer of burden rather than an increase of burden.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 27, 2013 at 6:31 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 39
@38 And, by "That bill" in my second and third paragraphs, I meant the income tax referendum. Sorry, that wasn't clear.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 27, 2013 at 6:33 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 40
You mustn't mind our dear unbrainwashed. He's just all excited, what with the holiday and all. I've begged his mother to enroll him in summer school - after all, it is free, and his teachers have been on her about his limited vocabulary - but the poor thing simply cannot see beyond the next day at the casino. She is really counting on "hitting the jackpot" so that she can send him to a military school and he will be "just like his daddy"
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on May 27, 2013 at 6:43 PM · Report this
Big Sven 41
The Stranger used to hire journalists. The kind of people who would have felt it was beneath them to physically threaten their readers. Man, those were the days.
Posted by Big Sven on May 27, 2013 at 8:06 PM · Report this
fletc3her 42
Thanks Goldy. You expressed much of my frustration with people repeatedly pointing out this bridge wasn't even on a list of necessary projects. If we were better stewards of our infrastructure we would at least be talking about when crucial bridges that are obsolete would be replaced rather than waiting for them to fall down.
Posted by fletc3her on May 27, 2013 at 8:07 PM · Report this
I voted for it, but there was no sufficient change of funding from regressive tax to progressive tax. It was just progressive tax ON TOP OF regressive tax. The only real way it would pass is if people saw it as a transfer of burden rather than an increase of burden.

Right you are. If the proponents had been honest about their sole motive being to make taxation fairer, they'd have presented an income tax with a rate fixed in the wording, coupled with a reduction in the sales tax rate and elimination of the local option to add more sales taxes on top of the state's rate.

In other words, they'd have made it revenue neutral. But that's not what they did, and that's why it lost. All anyone has to do is look at the Democratic Party in this state. Increased taxation is either directly in every speech of theirs, or clearly implied. Given that reality, it would be insane for this state's voters to approve an income tax.

I mean, when you even lose King County, you're kinda fucked I'd say.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 27, 2013 at 8:34 PM · Report this
Christampa 44
@43- The question is, do you think that you're even more righter and more smarter now that you no longer use your old handle of StrangersWorstNightmare, or was there even the smallest seed of doubt about your entire belief structure planted in your reptile brain when you were banned?
Posted by Christampa on May 27, 2013 at 8:49 PM · Report this
emor 45

Get your caustic Slog troll history right. Unbrainwashed used to be Mister G.
Posted by emor on May 27, 2013 at 9:30 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 46
@41: Physically threaten readers? Interesting. All I saw was someone offered a beer.

If that was the worst that happened to me when I called someone a "bloated fuckwit," I'd be pretty cheerful.

Then again, I love beer.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on May 27, 2013 at 9:37 PM · Report this
Goldy 47
@41 How could you possibly understand my comment at @37 to be a threat? I invited him out for a drink (assuming he's old enough). Jesus. Could you go any further out of your way to read ill intentions into my words?
Posted by Goldy on May 27, 2013 at 9:40 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 48

I didn't interpret your comment as a threat. I thought you were just asking him to join you for a beer.

Incidentally, if you ever come to Tacoma, I'd love to have a beer with you.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on May 27, 2013 at 9:45 PM · Report this
Goldy 49
And by the way, the offer remains open to all comers of all ideological persuasions. The Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally meets every Tuesday night from 8pm onwards at the Montlake Alehouse. We've had a few of our HA trolls stop by over the years, and while nobody changed any minds, the interactions were always friendly.
Posted by Goldy on May 27, 2013 at 9:45 PM · Report this
Unbrainwashed needs more than a beer. He needs to eat a 1/4 oz of some potent shrooms. Yes he will still be retarded but maybe his pea brain will open just a crack.
Posted by S T on May 27, 2013 at 10:25 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 51
Basically, if you like al-Qaeda, you like Tim Eyman.

Plain. And. Simple.

A strong America needs corporations and the rich to pay their fair share. And kick the Nazi-coddling Eymanites back to their Fatherland where they came from.
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 27, 2013 at 10:54 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 52
@40 - You continue to be a treasure. <3
Posted by Pridge Wessea on May 27, 2013 at 10:56 PM · Report this
Blowing off a little steam and having some fun today aren't we Goldy?. Love the "Squirrel" comment, nicely done.

Supreme Rectum of the Universe, just isn't going to grasp that if we funded roadways in the manner he advocates, he'd be driving on a dirt road, or paying $15 every time he drove out his driveway and tolls along the way.

Unbrainwashed. Its sad, brain damage, what are you going to do. Poor thing was never taught hygiene as a child.

I do I have one question. WA. has no State Income tax? Why? How did that happen? Its not like you guys have some other base to cover that like say tourists, gambling, oil, a disproportionate representation in the House, Senate and Electoral College, so I don't get it. How did you guys think the State was going make up for that revenue when you did away with State income tax.

Just curious.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on May 27, 2013 at 11:32 PM · Report this
I didn't take it as a threat either.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 27, 2013 at 11:55 PM · Report this
Goldy 55
@53 History! In 1932 voters overwhelmingly approved two initiatives, one that slashed property taxes, and the other that created an income tax to replace the revenue. But in 1933, the state supreme court ruled the income tax unconstitutional, leaving the cap on property taxes in place. Legislators quickly cobbled together a sales tax and B&O tax as a stopgap. We've been stuck with this highly regressive stopgap ever since.
Posted by Goldy on May 27, 2013 at 11:56 PM · Report this
#44, but here i thought I was "G." Can't you fuckwits get your paranoia straight?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 27, 2013 at 11:57 PM · Report this
@55 ah ok gottcha, a hold over from another century. Yeah that shit happens. Let em go on long enough and folks start ascribing religious meaning to them. Then your in real trouble.

Look it is simple, it costs money to run Governments, yeah yeah governments are bad but lack of government is apocalyptic bad. Besides government does all sorts of stuff you never think about like sidewalks. So you gotta pay for it.

How? Go to where the money is, today the money is in Equities, Interest, dividends, sales, service and income, pretty much in that order. Real property not so much. Oh there is real value in Real property but moving Real property around is nigh impossible. That is why the real money is in Equities, Interest and Dividends.

Oh and for the vegetables jumping in their seats cause I put income tax penultimate to last in my listing, I'd swap it with sales tax in a heart beat.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on May 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 58
@55 And SOME OF US *ahem*goldy*ahem* can't help but keep advocating for more and more highly regressive stopgaps to continue the stopgaps, thus allowing lawmakers to continually put the burden on the poor. Goldy claims he's for progressive taxation, but he never has the balls to put his writings where his claims are.

No tax is regressive enough for Goldy to not advocate for it, that I've seen.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 28, 2013 at 6:58 AM · Report this
I'm amazed that in our state, Washington, no one has picked up on the fact that the State Patrol granted the trucking company authorization to put the oversize truck on the road, along a path where the truck would be almost a foot taller than the bridge it needed to travel over.

How hard would it be to require the trucking company to input their planned route in a computer routing software, like Google Maps, and receive back a printout that rejected/approved their plan based on the height of the vehicle versus the height of any bridges, overpasses, and underpasses that it may travel?

Technology is in place to make that a reality in short order. Aren't we a technology state?
Posted by elbowman on May 28, 2013 at 7:43 AM · Report this
"Besides government does all sorts of stuff you never think about like sidewalks."

In Seattle, sidewalks were built by developers, not the city. Nice try though.
Posted by I Know, We Need a Sidewalk Tax! on May 28, 2013 at 7:53 AM · Report this
" no one has picked up on the fact that the State Patrol granted the trucking company authorization to put the oversize truck on the road "

It was that Democrat run shit-hole, WSDoT, that issues the permits and failed to hang a $50 height warning sign. Paula Hammond should be keel-hauled under the old 520 bridge.
Posted by Sugartit on May 28, 2013 at 7:56 AM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 62
@60 because the city requires developers to build sidewalks with new development. DUH. See also: Bridge the Gap levy from a few years ago, which has built some sidewalks in my hood. Urdum.

@61 because the bridge clearances are over the height that would require a height clearance sign. Which is a federal issue, not WSDOT.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on May 28, 2013 at 8:49 AM · Report this
treacle 63
<snark> Well, I think if private enterprise needs a new bridge to enable its commerce, then private enterprise should put on it's big-girl panties and build the damn bridge itself! Stop expecting hand-outs from the State's tax-payer coffers!</snark> #PlayByTeaPartyRules
Posted by treacle on May 28, 2013 at 8:58 AM · Report this
p.s.: Goldy, if you're wondering about "angry veneers," check out your own columns and the Stranger's headlines. Fuckwit doc, heal thyself.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 28, 2013 at 12:19 PM · Report this
#50, I've eaten magic mushrooms, and it was a great time. Alas (for you), the experience did not make me want to pay higher taxes.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 28, 2013 at 1:24 PM · Report this
Goldy, based on your experience with I-831, do you think it would be possible to run an initiative to name the Mount Vernon bridge that collapsed the "Tim Eyman Commemorative Bridge"? Because I would be so willing to put up money for that.
Posted by TechBear on May 28, 2013 at 2:45 PM · Report this
#66, great idea. Pair it up with the gun control initiative. I'm sure the rest of the state will be eager to accept and endorse their latest gifts from their betters in Seattle. Ha ha ha ha!
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 28, 2013 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Of course the 'ZOMG don't spend money on roads' Stranger is quick to lambast the State for not spending money on roads after one of those roads' bridges collapses in an accident.

The bridge had no warning signage. I drove down Lake Washington Blvd yesterday, and along the Boulevard is a pedestrian bridge with a very low clearance. However, well before that bridge there is not only a warning sign advising of this clearance but a sensor attached to a light on the sign which flashes if it senses your vehicle exceeds the clearance. Signage also advises taller vehicles to exit at the last street before the bridge.

I cannot imagine it would take all that much to, a a minimum, have posted such a warning system before a low clearance truss bridge like the Skagit River Bridge. That WSDOT never bothered to do so, not even signage, shows a level of systematic negligence that's going to require a lot more to address than merely throwing more money at the problem.
Posted by El Steven on May 29, 2013 at 1:35 PM · Report this

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