Indiana governor Mitch Daniels was forced to close the Sherman Minton Bridge over the Ohio River last week. The 50-year-old structure connects Indiana with Kentucky via Interstate 64, and after years of overuse, the bridge has deteriorated significantly.
Inspectors recently discovered a large crack in the main load-bearing element of the bridge, and structural engineers quickly recommended closing the structure to traffic. Before the closure, 75,000 vehicles flowed between Albany, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky every day. Now those vehicles are being forced onto already over-crowded alternate routes.
The Sherman Minton Bridge has become a symbol of our nation's rapidly-deteriorating infrastructure (see also: I-35 bridge in Minneapolis), and President Barack Obama has used it as an example of exactly how America needs to focus on shoring up its innards. As a result, the president has unveiled the American Jobs Act – legislation designed to put people back to work while giving infrastructure the attention it's been lacking over the past four decades. Here's hoping it works.