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San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge rusting in vital areas

Some of the most vulnerable and integral cable sections and rods on the new $6.5 billion Bay Bridge are rusting. A Sacramento Bee investigation found corroded cable strands and anchor rods inside supposedly sealed chambers that protect attachments for the main suspension span cable to the bridge deck girders. Experts said if corrosion worsens, it could lead to catastrophic damage well ahead of the planned 150-year service life of the bridge.

It is a danger hidden beneath the streets of New York City, unseen and rarely noticed: 6,302 miles of pipes transporting natural gas.

Leaks, like the one that is believed to have led to the explosion that killed eight people in East Harlem this month, are startlingly common, numbering in the thousands every year, federal records show.

It's a firefighter's worst nightmare: Trapped inside a smoke-filled basement, he radios for help. But he can't get a signal. He speaks, but his colleagues and dispatchers hear nothing.

Monroe County leaders and fire district officials agree that no firefighter should ever wind up in such a desperate position. But they are still working out how to ensure that the county's new multimillion-dollar digital radio system can prevent it from happening.

With their quaint barrel-like contours and weathered cedar-plank sides, rooftop water towers are a constant on the New York City skyline. And though they may look like relics of a past age, millions of residents get their drinking water from the tanks every day.

But inside these rustic-looking vessels, there are often thick layers of muddy sediment. Many have not been cleaned or inspected in years. And regulations governing water tanks are rarely enforced, an examination by The New York Times shows.

"A cache of private messages linking Governor Christie’s office to vindictive lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in September plunged the administration into a deep crisis on Wednesday, threatening Christie’s national profile as a straight-talker and feeding criticism that his administration has used its power to bully political enemies," northjersey.com reports. Read/watch the full story here.

 

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.

The Orlando Sentinel completed its three-part series “Blood In the Streets” this week, examining Central Florida’s chronic, tragic record of pedestrian crashes, the worst in the country. Using state and federal data, reporters Scott Powers and Arelis Hernandez reviewed thousands of pedestrian crashes to target scores of interviews. Their findings: The problems are rooted in many decades of sprawling development and road planning and a careless culture. Drivers who kill pedestrians face life-changing grief and guilt. Victims and families find little support and no closure from the justice system. And no transportation plans address the ultimate problem: high speed.

The U.S. military has erected a 64,000-square-foot headquarters in Afghanistan at a cost of $34 million, but has no plans to use it. Senior military officials told The Washington Post that they insisted they did not need the facility and see no point to moving into it as they withdraw forces from the area. Military officials told the Post the headquarters is representative of Pentagon mismanagement, which has resulted in costly projects finishing up throughought the region with no troops to use them.

The Bee compared that Caltrans study against about 115,000 pages of construction and inspection records and found the conclusions were based on wrong information. The records show that the agency misstated in its report the extent of water contamination and its own inspection efforts. Conclusions that corrosion caused no harm were based partly on underestimates about how long tendons were left exposed and vulnerable, and on suspect testing methods.”

"Trusting your child with someone else is one of the hardest things that a parent has to do—and in the United States, it’s harder still, because American day care is a mess. About 8.2 million kids—about 40 percent of children under five—spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent." Read the full invesitgation from the New Republic here.

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