At 6:05 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, August 1, 2007, with rush hour bridge traffic moving slowly through the limited number of lanes, the central span of the bridge suddenly gave way, followed by the adjoining spans. The structure and deck collapsed into the river and onto the riverbanks below, the south part toppling 81 feet (25 m) eastward in the process. Approximately 100 vehicles were involved, sending their occupants and 18 construction workers up to 115 feet (35 m) down to the river or onto its banks. Northern sections fell into a rail yard, landing on three unoccupied and stationary freight train cars.The cost to taxpayers for this bridge-collapse was $234 million for a replacement bridge, over $50 million in penalties paid by the company that constructed the bridge, and untold dollars in disrupted business and other costs by people affected by the collapse.
As infrastructures throughout the world age, similar failures may occur, and the potential cost to taxpayers could be in the trillions of dollars. I am considering deteriorating infrastructures as disasters, because old infrastructures exist in every nation of the world, and failures could potentially affect almost all persons on the earth.
Scientists and politicians are studying the effects of deteriorating infrastructures. Here are links to some of their reports.
The City of Boston is riddled with more than 3,000 leaks from its aging natural-gas pipeline system, according to a new study by researchers at Boston (BU) and Duke Universities.