Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Spooky language alert

Let's see, how many bridges have collapsed this year? Hmm? And the solution is, "Stop saying those words!" Ehhh... what?
ST. PAUL, Minn. - State highway officials around the country want the government to stop scaring the public by using dire-sounding phrases such as "structurally deficient" and "fracture critical" to describe bridges in need of repairs.

In interviews and government documents obtained by The Associated Press, some engineers say the terms are making America's bridges sound shakier than they really are, and they would prefer less-alarming phrases, or perhaps a "Health Index" for the nation's spans.

The issue came up after the Minneapolis bridge collapse Aug. 1 that killed 13 people. The span, along with more than 73,000 other U.S. bridges, had been classified as structurally deficient, a term some engineers say sent shudders across the nation because it was widely misunderstood.

"People seem to think a bridge is within a hair's breadth of collapse when they hear these terms," Montana's chief transportation engineer Loran Frazier vented in an e-mail survey of his peers after the Interstate 35W disaster. "There seemed to be borderline hysteria regarding the bridges."

No comments: