It’s been about a month since a truck hauling an oversized load struck an I-5 bridge and sent it plunging into the Skagit River. Truckers have a tough job navigating infrastructure challenges such as obsolete bridges and increasingly congested highways. To learn more about the challenges, KUOW’s Derek Wang went to trucking school.
Failed Bridges In Washington
The I-5 Skagit River bridge collapse is just one of a number of major bridge failures in Washington's history. Washington is home to four of the nation's 11 floating bridges, two of which have sunk.
There's a lot of water in Washington state, and therefore a lot of bridges. Transportation for America put together the numbers of structurally deficient bridges by state county and compared Washington to the rest of the country. There's good news: Washington is ranked 46 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.) in structurally deficient bridges. Pennsylvania performed the worst with 24.5 percent of bridges considered deficient.
Visualizing the numbers Did you know that in another ten years, one in four bridges will be 65 years old or older? And today, almost 50 percent of bridges of that age are structurally deficient? In the minute it'll take you to view this full infographic with more facts like that, another 180,000 trips will be taken on deficient bridges.
Federal investigators released a preliminary report Tuesday about last month’s I-5 bridge collapse over the Skagit River. The report says the driver of the truck that struck the bridge before it fell had moved over closer to the edge of the bridge because of a passing truck.
The effort to replace the I-5 bridge that collapsed into the Skagit River last month has hit a milestone. On Monday, workers installed the framework for part of a temporary replacement that will eventually support the bridge’s north-bound lanes. There will be a second span to handle south-bound traffic.
Indefinite Stay For Guantanamo Detainees David Marshall is a Seattle Attorney who has been representing Ahmed Ajam since 2007. Ajam has been a prisoner of Guantanamo for 11 years. According to Marshall, Ajam, a Syrian who was in the wrong place at the wrong time in Pakistan, was cleared for release by military authorities but remains in Guantanamo because Congress restricts the transfer of detainees.Marshall explains the state his client is living in and the complications of representing clients held at Guantanamo Bay prison.
Uncomfortable Truths About Modern Air Travel “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.” It’s getting harder and harder to do that, isn’t it? Seating is getting tighter. Bags are up to you. Costs are going up. Aviation expert Mark Gerchick explains what’s really going on behind the scenes in his book "Full Upright and Locked Position: Not-So-Comfortable Truths about Air Travel Today."
A Conversation With Jamie And Karen Moyer For Seattle Mariners fans, the last decade has been a huge disappointment. In fact, the last time the team made the playoffs was in 2001. That season, the M’s won 116 regular season games – which tied the all-time record.
A huge part of their success that season was starting pitcher Jamie Moyer. The soft-tossing left hander won 20 games. He left the Mariners in 2006, but kept on playing. He won a World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. And last year, Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher in major league baseball to earn a win at the age of 49. In addition to a long and prosperous baseball career, Moyer and his wife Karen have dedicated their lives to charity. They stopped by to chat about The Moyer Foundation, Jamie’s baseball career and why they still love Seattle.
You may have seen cars driving around the Seattle area with oversized, hot pink moustaches on their front grills. Those moustaches are trademarks for a new car service company called Lyft, one of several ride-sharing services now operating in the city. Think of them like Airbnb, but with a car and a driver. Lyft, Uber X and Sidecar allow laypeople to use their own cars and act as cabbies. The services are expanding in Seattle, and they’re drawing increased scrutiny from the cab industry, as well as from regulators and policymakers. Some officials say the businesses are illegal.
A couple of years ago, Democratic politicians at the state and national levels set heady goals for battery powered cars. For example, in his 2011 State of the Union speech, President Obama said, "With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015."
Taxi cabs have a new breed of competitors. New companies like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar give smartphone users the ability to reserve a ride through an app on their phone. Some of the companies use private car owners as their main drivers. Will traditional taxis fall by the wayside? How are these new companies regulated? Ross Reynolds talks with KUOW’s transportation reporter, Derek Wang.
The 1920s and 1930s are sometimes called "the age of the dirigible." Dirigibles were giant, steerable blimps and zeppelins, and they used to be a popular way to transport crowds of people from place to place. But then there was the fiery Hindenburg disaster. And during wars airplanes could easily shoot them down. After that airships were pretty much reduced to flying above football games and other kinds of surveillance.
Audio from a broadcast of the Hindenburg disaster in 1937
A Persistent Problem Overcome
Dirigibles never regained popularity because of a basic problem: they could only dock at special places where they could be tied down. Otherwise, they'd spring up into the air the moment you off loaded the cargo.
Now engineers have overcome that problem by simply compressing the helium upon landing. It's such a simple fix that its inventors are kicking themselves for not having thought of it sooner, and because dirigibles can lift extremely heavy loads much more efficiently than airplanes, the new airship's inventors believe we could see a new age of dirigibles.
News From Congress: Rep. Jim McDermott Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington's 7th District in Congress joins us to discuss how congressmen and woman have become essential advocates for safer infrastructure after a crisis hits their district. McDermott is calling for more resources to avoid disasters like the Skagit River bridge collapse. Also, the latest on the IRS, the Affordable Care Act and the Alaska Pebble Mine.
Rite Of Spring Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Paris premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky. The performance provoked a riot. Critics and audience members wrote afterwards there was so much noise that the dancers couldn’t hear the music over the audience boos. What made "Rite of Spring" so provocative? Why has its centennial been marked by contemporary artists and academics around the world? Marcie Sillman and Dave Beck explore the history and legacy of "The Rite of Spring."
An I-5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River last week after a truck hit an overhead support beam. Once it was clear that no one was seriously injured, a local t-shirt company decided to have a little fun. Slow Loris Shirts founder Jessica Lynch says she laughed when she heard the state got a C- grade on its bridges.
Washington state’s top priority is fixing the section of the I-5 bridge that collapsed into the Skagit River last week, according to Governor Jay Inslee. Inslee announced plans Sunday that could lead to a temporary replacement in June, and a permanent fix in September.