Climate, Economics, and Infrastructure

May 22, 2015

Cranes working on the renovation of the Broadway City Pier building in Fells Point

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is a follow-up to the May 16, 2015 post entitled “Infrastructure”.

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition and discussed the state of U.S. infrastructure.  Please do listen to the interview as Secretary LaHood describes the interaction between the recent harsh winter, the gasoline tax (which is primarily used to fund infrastructure projects), and the dilapidated condition of many roads, bridges, and railways in the United States.

I distinctly remember years ago standing on a bridge to photograph a sunrise (there was a walkway that was sectioned off from the main road).  While getting ready to press the shutter, a logging truck passed by and the vibration of the bridge made it impossible to for the creation of a sharp image at that particular moment (and for a brief time thereafter until the bridge settled down).  That brought to mind the number of the trucks (and cars and buses) that have crossed that bridge during its years of existence-the amount of stress and fatigue produced by the traffic, along with the weather exposure, must have been enormous.  Structural engineers take such things into account during the design process; however, the changing climate and demographics often mean that longer-term weather exposure and current travel patterns may be quite different from originally considered.  All physical objects degrade over time when exposed to such conditions and Secretary LaHood states his concerns quite clearly.

My daily commute is about 100 miles and currently I drive through several major roadway repair projects-while it is annoying to be slowed/stopped in traffic at the end of a work day, that is preferable to having the bridge fall from underneath the car.

Cranes working on the renovation of the Broadway City Pier building in Fells Point

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As an aside, the photographs in this post are not from any of the aforementioned infrastructure projects-it is the  former Broadway City Pier building in Fells Point, which is being converted into a hotel. The building was vacant for years and had fallen into disrepair after having served as the Homicide Division’s headquarters for the television show Homicide.  Fans of that show should recognize it.

Take care.

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