Friday 2 November 2012

The Best Solution

There was an article in the paper this morning about the bridges in Alberta and how they have been neglected. Normally I would have just passed over this article and tried to find what the stars were predicting for my day. However, since I travel over bridges on a fairly regular basis, I decided that this deserved a read.

It seems that there isn’t anything to worry about quite yet and there are no bridges that are in the process of falling down. The problem lays in the fact that the department that is supposed to oversee maintenance on the bridges has failed to keep track of how they are doing. I don’t know if it is a department policy or just incompetence, but someone should take a look at some of these bridges. You don’t think about how many bridges there are around, but when you do start counting the number keeps climbing.

I guess the article was concerned with some 4,000 odd bridges that haven’t been checked for wear and tear for decades. I’m not terribly worried that I will be the one on the bridge when it collapses, but someone will be and it is bound to cause an uproar. There will be a lot of finger pointing, fixing of the blame and not the problem and generally denying that the government of the day is in any way responsible. That is what political parties do. They spend money that is ear marked for a particular project and use the money to buy votes.

Who really cares about a bunch of old bridges anyways? Like I say, they will collapse and whoever happens to be in charge at the time will tsk-tsk and pooh-pooh the failings of the past and set a committee composed of loyal supporters to study the problem. A few years will pass and a few bridges will crumble before the committee decides that someone should do a feasibility study on how to go about fixing the problem. They will hire a noted European architect to design a series of bridges and once the designs have been approved we will get a steel manufacturer somewhere in world to build the super structure. It will be shipped to Alberta and since we have no experienced bridge builders we will bring a hundred or so from China

Due to design and manufacturing defects, the project will be put behind schedule and nothing will be said until after the upcoming election. Due to election promises that there will be no new capital projects, the bridges which are deemed to be “new” will be shelved for a few years until the political climate improves.

Meanwhile, the people have found other ways to get around since the bridge collapsed and in the years to come they will vote for one of those politicians that promise to do a study into the feasibility of putting a bridge over the creek. You know, bridges are susceptible to collapse; perhaps the best solution would be a tunnel instead of the bridge.

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