MPR details sorry state of Minnesota’s rail bridges

Warning: MPR’s massive compendium of crumbling-infrastructure porn is NSFW (Not Safe For Wheels). Dan Gunderson has the report: “More than 330 railroad bridges pass over freeways, highways and streets in Minnesota, and last year state and local inspectors determined that one in five of those was structurally deficient. … Inspectors found cracked concrete columns and steel anchor plates; rusting girders and bolts; and holes that let debris fall through bridge decks. Those and other problems led inspectors to declare 71 bridges in ‘poor’ condition, a rating considered the equivalent of structural deficiency. Twelve suffered from what inspectors considered ‘serious’ problems, a more grave rating. … Although precise comparisons to road bridges are difficult to make, the condition of rail bridges appears worse than that of road bridges.”

Think of all the stadiums we could buy with this money. “Minnesotans receive as much as $2 billion in hospital care a year that could be avoided, according to a new analysis that also estimates two of every three emergency room visits in the state are potentially preventable,” writes Jeremy Olson in the Star Tribune. “The first-of-its-kind report, released Wednesday, was an effort by Minnesota health officials to quantify the waste, which amounts to 4.8 percent of state spending on health care per year, and to find the fat in the system that would be easiest to trim. It also appears to contradict the state’s reputation for efficient health care.”

St. Paul has some condos by the farmers market it would like to sell you. In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo reports, “The city of St. Paul’s big luxury real estate gamble — the Lofts at Farmers Market — will be put up for sale, proof positive in the eyes of city officials that the gamble will pay off. … Jonathon Sage-Martinson, city planning and economic development director, told the city council Wednesday that the 57-unit luxury apartment building across from the downtown Farmers’ Market was fully occupied and the market was ripe.

A fascinating read on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s relationship to Jews, from the New Yorker. Arthur Krystal writes, “People evidently liked to touch Frances Kroll Ring. As secretary and assistant to F. Scott Fitzgerald toward the end of his life, Mrs. Ring, who died on June 18th, at the age of ninety-nine, might well have been the last person alive to have touched him. To shake her hand or look her in the eye was our last chance to commune physically with the writer who personified the Jazz Age and the Paris of the nineteen-twenties. Fitzgerald died in December, 1940, and it’s strange to think that until last month someone was around who had cooked and typed for him, run his errands, and cleaned up his messes. It’s strange also to think that she was a nice Jewish girl from the Bronx.”

In other news…

Milwaukee takes the “just build more roads” argument to its logical conclusion. [Politico]

Following up from yesterday’s Wisconsin listicle, here are “The 10 Worst Places to Live in Minnesota” [RoadSnacks]

“Rogue Dairy Queen”need we say more? [Star Tribune]

Would it be better to call University of North Dakota athletes nothing at all? [Inforum]

Do Canterbury’s horses have a need for speed? [Star Tribune]

It’s just not the same:

“Twin Cities metal guitarist Justin Lowe of After the Burial found dead” [Star Tribune]

Rob Fairbanks and Jon Roberts are Ojibwa comedians seeking to make a movie and get noticed on a western tour.” [Minnesota Brown]

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 07/23/2015 - 04:01 pm.

    Wait until one of those worn out

    Bridges falls when a train with a hundred cars carrying the explosive oil from ND is on it. Have fun legislators opposing infrastructure repair explaining any death or destruction

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 07/23/2015 - 04:59 pm.

      13 died and 145 were injured

      When a major bridge collapsed on Timmy Pawlenty’s watch. He paid absolutely no political price for that. The same would happen with the clowns running the House now. Republicans don’t pay the price for their failures, its always someone else’s fault. Passing the buck is one of the few things they’re good at. On the other hand, their enabler Senator Bakk doesn’t have that same protection, maybe he’d suffer for his acquiescence to their short sightedness and greed.

      • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 07/23/2015 - 07:33 pm.

        However Democrats…..

        refuse to recognize and admit their failures and always blame their political opponents of obstructionism.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 07/24/2015 - 01:29 pm.


      I think the main hangup for infrastructure repair is who pays for it. Do you want taxpayer money fixing a railroad bridge you will never use? If it goes over the road then I guess you get the benefit of the train not falling on your head but you still are prohibited from using it.

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