Friday, August 03, 2007

Wake Up, Number 37

For the past few days, my heart has been with the folks in Minnesota as they, like the rest of the country, relive the horror of Wednesday's bridge collapse over and over again as it's aired on CNN.

And everywhere around the country people are wondering about the safety and stability of bridges in our own hometowns.

I think about the Huguenot Bridge, which took me to high school every day for four years, and more recently, seems to be closed for repairs every single weekend. And yet, although the paved surface is a patchwork quilt of pothole fill-ins, it is not cosmetic repaving work that's being performed on Sundays, and that makes me more than a little uneasy.

Huguenot Bridge, Richmond, VA

Although of a different construction than the steel-trussed I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, the Huguenot Bridge is still at risk. In May 2006, the deck, superstructure and substructure of the 57-year-old bridge were rated as poor, while the August 2006 underwater inspection rated the footings as just "fair". Not comforting. Fortunately the bridge is scheduled for replacement in 2010. Here's hoping it holds up that long.

I've also had the phrase, "Wake up, Number 37" rolling around my head these last few days. If you've seen the movie, The Mothman Prophecies, then you know to what I'm referring. If you haven't, then I won't spoil it for you. But it's a fantastic movie, in my opinion -- spooky, (in a fun, Sixth Sense kind of way), but not gory, and has a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat, heart-stopping ending which makes watching all the spooky stuff worthwhile. And of course, Richard Gere (my sister's hunky "co-star" in the upcoming Nights in Rodanthe flick, heh heh), is in it.

But what happened on Wednesday is not a Hollywood movie. Real people were injured. Real lives were lost. And thank God there are many more survivors than originally expected.

Yesterday I emailed my friend Marci, a Minnesota native currently living in Florida, and asked her if anyone she knew was involved. Her answer was thankfully, no, but she does have a friend who takes that bridge home from work every evening, usually right around the same time as Wednesday's rush hour collapse. Her friend went home by another route that night. And I'm guessing her friend is feeling particularly grateful to be alive these days.

Wake up, Number... ?

Have a safe weekend, everyone.


Robin said...

I'm with you Mary! My prayers go out to everyone in MN.
I have seen "The Mothman Prophecies", which was the first thing that went through my mind when I learned of the collapse! Spooky....
I'm glad your friend's family are all okay.

Issy said...

My daughter said the same thing about the movie connection. I have not seen it but she was saying "told you so" all day.

Leslie Shelor said...

It could have been so much worse, but it didn't HAVE to happen. I'm with you; what will get this country to WAKE UP!

Anonymous said...

My husband drives a semi-truck and while we were on the phine that day, he got a message about the bridge collapse on his "computer". The first thing I said was "Great tragedy on the river Ohio," thinking TOTALLY about that movie. Strange how the mind works....

Ranger Susie said...

I'm wondering how many other bridges in Richmond are in poor shape. On the news the other day they were saying it's also over passes and tunnels that are in rotten shape. Scary...