The Inspection History of I-35W
As this article makes clear, the problem in Minneapolis was not a failure of funding, but a failure of detection, and not for lack of trying. As Lileks pointed out on tonight’s show, there is a massive program of highway improvements in the Twin Cities. Whatever caused this tragedy, it was not a failure of the political system.
UPDATE: This op-ed argues age and heavy use are the likely culprits, but an engineer from Alabama called to argue that damage done by the maintenance effort could have triggered the catastrophe.
The inquiry into what happened is going to be part online and ongoing forensic examination, and watching the various theories evolve will test whether the web can weed out the nutters from those with genuine expertise.
The Wikipedia background on the failure of the St. Francis Dam which I mentioned on air is here.