1983 Mianus Bridge Collapse Has Lessons For Today

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Just one day before the 30th anniversary of the Mianus River Bridge collapse, a tragedy that killed three people, there are new concerns about Connecticut’s bridges.

A study by the organization Transportation for America found that nearly 10 percent of Connecticut’s bridges are structurally deficient. That means they can have deterioration, cracks and structural problems. Many times they can be fixed, but sometimes they have to close.

“We are now at a point, kind of like living in an older house where everything is coming to reach the end of its useful life at the same time,” Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick said.

Nursick said only about 8 percent of Connecticut’s structurally deficient bridges are under the care of DOT. And, Nursick said, DOT is keeping the bridges safe, but funding is an issue as more and more bridges get older.

“It’s going to be very important to keep lawmakers and the public engaged in that reality that we’re OK where we are now but the needs are going to be increasing over the next 15 years and that’s going to be costing more money so we’re going to have to be aware of that and prepared to make those decisions,” Nursick said.

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1 Comment

  • Richard Silver

    I was counsel to the estate of the young man that died as a result of the Mianus River Bridge collapse. In that case, the State of Connecticut was negligent when it failed to properly inspect and repair the bridge. Now, in part due to the recent Transportation for America study, it is clear that the State is on notice of the structurally deficient nature of 102 bridges in Fairfield County alone. Three of these bridges are specifically in the Greenwich/Stamford/Norwalk stretch of I-95.

    It is imperative that the State move to repair these bridges now before another tragedy happens, but how do we pay for the necessary funding? Halting the diversion of funds away from the maintenance of bridges is a necessary first step. Placing tolls on I-95 might increase revenue, but would cause colossal traffic back-ups. A solution, which would make sense at this particular time, is to have additional long term state bonding. The interest rates on bonds right now are near an all-time low.

    Restoring our bridges to safety should be a first priority of the coming year’s legislative session.

    Richard A. Silver, Esq.
    Silver Golub & Teitell LLP
    Stamford, CT 06901