In case you missed it, the Fern Hollow Bride in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania collapsed when I municipal bus drove over it and ten people were injured.

Recently it came to light that in 2018 a man walking his dog noticed the bridge structure was rusted through and Tweeted the city about it.

That is just over three years ago.

According to the Post-Gazette article linked above:

[Mr. Kochanski] said it was just chance that he took the photo. He walks underneath the bridge at least twice a week with his dog, but, on that day, he happened to look up and noticed the detached beam, as well as some cable supports that seemed to have been added more recently to replace any function that the detached beam had provided. From that point on, it worried him.

“Until they removed the rusted beam, I’d look up every time I walked beneath the bridge,” he said. “But after that, I kind of figured it was taken care of and I gradually forgot about it.”

Mr. Kochanski had seen online that the last documented inspection appeared to have been 2017. Told that Mayor Ed Gainey said Friday morning that there was a much more recent inspection just four months ago, in September, he was stunned.

“If that’s true, then somebody did a pretty miserable job of inspecting,” he said.

According to 2CBS Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse: Fern Hollow Bridge Had ‘Poor’ Rating Since 2011

Inspectors have listed the Fern Hollow Bridge in poor condition for more than a decade, although they said other local bridges are actually in worse condition.

Inspectors began listing the bridge in poor condition as far back as 2011, and as recently as last September.

In 2017, inspectors recommended it be overhauled “because of general structure deterioration and inadequate strength,” and recommended a restoration project estimated at $1.5 million. That project was never funded.

Now here is an interesting article from April, 2021:

Hundreds of Miles of New Bike Lanes Coming to Pittsburgh
Checking in with the Bike(+) Plan in Pittsburgh.

According to the article, the city of Pittsburgh is making progress on a plan that would bring the city’s total of bike lanes above 250 miles. The city last year added 13 miles of bike facilities to an existing 60 miles, according to Karina Ricks, the director of mobility and infrastructure for the city, who is cited throughout the article touting the benefits of bike infrastructure.

This is an image straight from the city’s Bike(+) master plan:


Apparently getting safely home on municipal busses because the brides don’t collapse isn’t on that list.

Here is another:

Historic Shadyside intersection has become official point of Pride

The corner of Ellsworth and Maryland Avenues has more significance than meets the eye.

In the mid-1990s, when LGBTQ Pride marches in Pittsburgh were small and grassroots, Richard Parsakian and others in the community held a homemade rainbow flag over that intersection.

And now the corner has been memorialized with a recently installed public art project to mark its significance. The intersection is filled with a collage of colors and shapes to represent every group of the LGBTQ community and to signify to visitors and Pittsburghers alike the role the area played in the fight for equal rights.

Now I will be the first to admit that I am not a structural engineer.  But I am a PE in metallurgical engineering and I can tell you that it takes a long fucking time to rust entirely through a girder like that.

I’d also say, albeit slightly outside of my area of expertise, that there is clearly something wrong with the bridge’s drainage system if the Salt from the roads covered the steel sub structure and wasn’t safely drained away from it.

Also, again not as a structural engineer but someone who a lot about the strength of steel, I’m having a hard time understanding how two tension rods are an adequate replacement for a girder.

Let’s put this all together.

The city was well aware that the Fern Hollow Bridge was in poor condition for over a decade.

They did some hackneyed fix to it and it passed inspection barely five months before it collapsed.

The city couldn’t find the money to fix that bridge, or others in worse condition, but dies have the money for bike lanes to achieve some Woke goals of reducing car emissions and letting people walk to places where they can buy fresh vegetables.

Bike paths for suburban yuppies to bike to the Whole Foods and LGBT street murals.

That is the government’s priorities.

Not fixing bridges with sub structures that have rusted through.

And when the Federal Government gets involved what do they do?

Secretary Paternity Leave tells us how roads and bridges are racist.

I think the problem with the Fern Hollow Bridge was structural corrosion not structural racism.  But what do I know, I’m just an straight white male engineer who believes in objective facts and that 2+2=4.

Our government tells us we’re racist if we don’t pass a trillion dollar infrastructure bill but the entire time our government knew the bridges were rusty and needed replacement but spent money on bike paths and gay crosswalks until the bridge collapsed and tax paying citizens got hurt.

This is a perfect example of the decadent bullshit that our nation has become.


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By J. Kb

16 thoughts on “Government and infrastructure spending are bullshit”
  1. One would suppose that the massive amount of money Biden wants to get for infrastructure would go to fixing things like this, but that would be a wrong assumption.

    1. Fox Business News reports that this bridge was NOT on the list of bridges to be fixed with the latest spending spree.

      One wonders why blue states seem to specialize in crumbling infrastructure. Just a few days ago a driver in Boston was nearly killed by a piece of concrete falling off an overpass. The state addressed the problem by putting barriers around the bridge. Perish the thought that they would actually FIX it.

      1. The only bridges getting fixed or replaced are ones that are located in the travel paths of key donors.

        Follow the grift. Always follow the grift.

  2. With all the attention on wokistry, attention is being diverted from objective practical concerns, and some day bridges are going to start…..oh, wait. What’s next, tall buildings? Uh….

  3. Oh that reminds me:

    Recently a major bridge into a big city was closed because concrete parts fell down on the crossing streets below.

    The bridge is to be demolished because it’s beyond repair.

    The punchline:
    A bridge inspection truck worth half a million € was still on the bridge after it PASSED INSPECTION three days before parts fell of it and because the bridge is deemed to unstable to simply drive the truck off it’s going down with the bridge.

    Punchline the second:
    It was the first use of the brand new truck fresh from the factory.

    Punchline the third – this time it’s bullshit:
    The city announced just prior that they plan to spend millions of € for building bicycle lanes and making the city more bike friendly (which means in our tightly build cities that car lanes get scrapped even though they barely cope with the traffic as it is) but had no money to restore the vital bridges (the city is build in a hilly terrain) which were known to be marode.

  4. Spending must be allocated to frivolities that increase the politician’s standing with their social circle before it’s allocated to necessities, because the taxpayers will cough up more money for necessities.

    1. This exactly.

      One thing I learned about the way air-, army and naval bases are constructed: they build the golf course first.

      A navy base without a dock is useless; a navy base without a golf course means the admiral can’t entertain property but can still function otherwise. So they build the least essential-to-mission stuff first, and the most essential last.

  5. After the I-35W Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis in August 2007, it was discovered the bridge was a “Fracture-Critical” design. IOW, if a single major girder fails, it would collapse. The Republican Governor ordered a review to find any other Fracture Critical bridges. There were 3 I think, and they were all closed and then replaced within a year or two, including one I commuted across in the 1980’s to go to college every day in St. Cloud.

    Governor Pawlenty also ordered immediate inspections of all MN Bridges, and an improved inspection program. A lot of states copied it. Taking a problem seriously and acting is actually cheaper in the long run. Compare that to the SF Bay Bridge Replacement fiasco.

    1. You don’t win accolades from the press doing what’s necessary, cost-effective, and life-saving. You win accolades from the press with useless stunts and catering to their social class.

      1. Rob,

        The Democrats took over the Governorship of Minnesota in 2011. One of their first major projects was building the Light Rail Green Line from Minneapolis SW to Eden Prairie. Total Project: 14.5 miles of surface level Light Rail for Less than $2 Billion and built by 2020 (two years ago). Now it might be built by 2027 and for 700 million more. AND they even axed the final stop in Eden Prairie to cut costs. The problem point is a small stretch in a swampy Minneapolis area where there is real railroad and a bike path. And you cannot re-route a sacred bike path.

        I expect it will be 3 Biilion and the Republicans are so pissed it may be scrapped, even if they have to send a billion in refunds back to Washington DC.

  6. Build Back Better is part of the UN Agenda to urbanize America and the World. Its about eliminating cars and single family homes so they can turn you into slaves that don’t own ANYTHING. NOTHING.
    The stupid greedy bastards want it ALL.
    We outnumber them by 30 to 1 at least. This could be a short war or a miserable long life with these morons trying to Steal the World.

  7. They added bike paths to many of the roads around my semi-rural town. In the last 5 years, I have seen ONE cyclist using a path.

  8. It’s gotten to the point that I’d be surprised nearly to death if I found that of the billions they put in their infrastructure bill, a single dollar was spent on needed infrastructure improvements.

    It’s grift all the way, top to bottom. Payoffs and bribes all the way.

  9. Roads and bridges that working poor (often but not always minorities) ride busses over to work are racist. However, bike lanes used by white suburbanites with $500+ bicycles are not.

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