Our first thoughts of course are for the victims of the I-35 Bridge collapse, and for their families and loved ones.

The natural second thought is “could it happen here?” Local officials are rushing to tell the media that, no, it can’t, but given that we don’t know why the bridge failed, it’s hard to feel reassured.

And of course we can’t help thinking about the Sellwood Bridge, rated at 2 out of 100 on the Federal maintenance scale.

Is this a case of aging infrastructure (the I-35 Bridge was built in 1967 according to Wikipedia) like the steam pipe explosion in NYC? Or is this a design failure (the Marquam Bridge has the same basic design, although unlike the I-35 Bridge, it has mid-river piers)?

What are you thinking about?

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