In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an America that is built to last. And if we are going to build an economy that lasts, we need to start with a foundation that lasts. We need to start with our infrastructure.
That's why I crossed the Potomac River yesterday and drove south to visit our neighbors in Virginia and take a look at the great work they’re doing near Richmond on the I-95 Lombardy Street Bridge.
Now, normally, bridge parts are built on the construction site then fitted together. It's the way we've always done it, but this approach requires extra space, time, and equipment, leading to higher costs, longer construction, and more of those delays that cause headaches for commuters, travelers, and truckers.
So in Richmond, the Virginia DOT is trying something different. Bridge elements are manufactured offsite, then transported to the highway and assembled into position. This makes bridge replacement more efficient, more cost effective, and more convenient for users of this critical interstate highway.
President Obama also talked on Tuesday about giving everyone his or her fair chance to pursue the American Dream. And for our friends and neighbors to have this fair chance, they need to be able to get to school, commute to work, drive their loads, and run the many other errands that make up the life of an average American.
That access requires roads that help move people and goods safely and efficiently--roads with safety features, roads that aren't crumbling, and roads that aren't regularly choked with congestion.
We have a choice: we can build our economy on a strong foundation, or we can put our heads in the sand and pretend it's concrete. President Obama and I agree that stronger is better for an America built to last.
Watch time-lapse video of the Sam White bridge installation over I-15 in American Fork, Utah.
This bridge is the longest two-span bridge to be moved into place in the Western Hemisphere.