Monday, July 11, 2005

Dangerous crossings

Officials say other bridges are just as risky as the one that collapsed last week in Linn County, Oregon.

Drivers should think long and hard before nudging their 34-foot motorhome, heavy-duty pickup, or even the family sedan over any private bridge in the mid-valley, transportation and public safety officials say.

If they choose to cross a private bridge, especially those built on log stringers, they do so at their own risk, officials say.

Private bridges have received increased attention after the collapse of a bridge at Cascadia resulted in the death of Dale Allen Funk, 51, of Lebanon.

Funk, the owner of Cascade Towing Company, was hauling a vehicle across the bridge when it collapsed July 1.

Log stringer bridges, although dwindling in number from the heyday of heavy timber sales, remain on both private and public property, and could lead to disaster since they, like all private bridges in the state, are not required by law to be inspected — ever. That includes bridges made of other materials such as former railroad cars and those with metal stringers and wood or metal decks. Full Story...

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