The Straw That Breaks The Infrastructure's Back

Using five examples, this piece from The New York Times looks at how small problems can lead to huge issues in America's aging infrastructure.

"Consider the nation's dams, on average a half-century old. Despite their monumental size, the dams can be weakened by foraging gophers and squirrels, whose holes undermine the foundations. Or even by simple operator error. A major gate at Folsom Dam in California burst in 1995 after the wrong lubricant was used on its gears.

Tree stumps and rusting pipes can undermine levees in Sacramento. Water systems in Alaska and Washington State depend on wood pipes dating back to pioneer days. And locks on inland shipping routes can be weakened by simple flotsam like discarded tires."

From flooding in levees to broken links in a subway's power system, seemingly minor faults can have devastating and expensive results.

Full Story: Spit, Glue and Maybe Even Chewing Gum

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET