Structurally Deficient, Fracture Critical   Leave a comment

Lewis McAdams, founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River, prefers to call himself an “infrastructuralist” rather than an “environmentalist.” The preference, perhaps, suggests an aversion to particular ideas of “nature,” or to an acknowledgment of the strange nature of the Los Angeles River. Or maybe it suggests the perceived need to build bridges—infrastructure—between “nature” and “culture.”  ↔ There are 27,002 bridges in Ohio. ↔ Last year, 5 “self-proclaimed anarchists”  tried to blow up one of those bridges (over the Cuyahoga River). They did so “in the hopes of furthering their ideological views” (Cleveland Plain Dealer 11/20/12). ↔ THREE STORIES FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/17/13: 1. “The deep division between Western backers of rebels seeking to overthrow Assad and Russian and Chinese supporters of the regime has paralyzed the U.N. Security Council….” 2. “The gap in employment rates between America’s highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels since officials began tracking the data….” “…Net worth for America’s wealthiest people has risen in the years since the financial crisis, widening the gap between the exceptionally well-to-do and the rest of the country.”  ↔ “Where’s that confounded bridge?” —Led Zeppelin, “The Crunge”  ↔ “An Associated Press analysis of 607,380 bridges in the most recent federal National Bridge Inventory showed that 65,605 were classified as ‘structurally deficient’ and 20,808 as ‘fracture critical.’ Of those, 7,795 were both—a combination of red flags that experts say indicate significant disrepair and similar risk of collapse” (AP 9/15/13).  ↔ A young shirtless man on a narrow bridge—railroad or pipeline—is out over the Los Angeles River acting erratically, spasmodic, threatening to jump. Whole families & many youths congregate to watch the spectacle. A man, holding his little girl, tells me the shirtless one has been there 2 hours. Fire & Rescue people fan out below the bridge, some wading through the knee-deep water of the channel’s low-flow notch, others maneuvering a large inflated pad. Cops come along to roust the crowd & get pushback from many, including the man w/ the little girl, who yells, “This is a public place! You can’t make us leave!” The worn tune of an ice cream truck plays nearby. ↔ “Can I take ’em to the bridge?” —James Brown, “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine” ↔ “Many of the bridges included in the AP review have [comparatively low] sufficiency ratings—a score designed to gauge the importance of replacing the span…. A bridge with a score less than 50 on a 100-point scale can be eligible for federal funds to help replace the span. More than 400 bridges that are fracture critical and structurally deficient have a score of less than 10, according to the latest federal inventory. ¶ The Brooklyn Bridge is among the worst” (AP 9/15/13). ↔ Hart Crane, to the Brooklyn Bridge: “O Sleepless as the river under thee, / Vaulting the sea, the prairies’ dreaming sod, / Unto us lowliest sometimes sweep, descend / And of the curveship lend a myth to God” (“The Bridge”).





Posted September 20, 2013 by the meaning of rivers in Uncategorized

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