Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More on infrastructure

USA Today weighs in on infrastructure problems in the USA, including mentions of problems at Ohio River locks and dams.

This is one of several articles I've seen in recent months that talk about the need to rebuild or rehabilitate the navigation infrastructure on the inland waterways, especially the Ohio River. But this stuff is out of sight of the public, and having all that 9/11 security that keeps people away from this infrastructure keeps it out of the public mind. So for now, navigation infrastructure is like the weather. A lot of people talk about it, but no one does anything about it.

A death at Dashields

A woman died Sunday when the personal watercraft she was riding with another person went over the Dashields dam near Pittsburgh. She was caught in the turbulent water below the dam. Unlike other Ohio River dams, Dashields is a fixed-crest dam. There are no piers or wickets, and it can be hard to see from upstream. According to this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the man operating the craft said, "I didn't realize I was that close."

I remember back in the 1970s or 1980s, I was sitting on the riprap right below the Gallipolis Locks and Dam. I saw a man standing on the base of one of the dam piers out in the river, fishing. Someone from the locks walked across the bridge connecting the piers and told the man to get in his boat and leave, which he did. I thought, that fisherman was either braver or more foolish that I hope to ever have to be.