I just have to go back to yesterday’s article in the Seattle Times: “Who’ll be to blame if viaduct, 520 bridge collapse?” Some of the comments are truly stunning.
Gov. Christine Gregoire said state engineers told her the viaduct probably would have collapsed if the 2001 Nisqually earthquake had lasted 15 more seconds.
Since that quake, the viaduct has shifted more than four inches. If it moves much more, the state plans to shut it down.
Um… just to be clear, by “shifted more than four inches”, what they mean is that it has started tipping over towards the waterfront by four inches. And the tilt is increasing at a rate of about an inch a year.
“Our best advice is to get off it five minutes before the next quake,” state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Linda Mullen quipped earlier this year.
“It’s not a little problem, it’s not a maybe problem,” said Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington. “The viaduct is just a question of when. If you’re on the lower level when it goes down, you’re dead.”
I’m guessing being on the top deck ain’t too safe either.
Gregoire says every political leader should be losing sleep over the state’s long-neglected bridges. “There’s no question in my mind