Segments in this Video

Importance of Infrastructure to Civilization (03:15)


The U.S. built the greatest infrastructure in the world between the 1930s and 1960s. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given the country a D on its report card grading scale. It will take $2.2. trillion to make current structures acceptable.

Structurally Deficient Bridge (03:36)

Bridges require routine maintenance and repairs to avoid rust and corrosion. Minneapolis' I-35 bridge collapsed during rush hour traffic in 2007 killing 13 people and injuring 145.

Dover Bridge (05:02)

The only direct link between northwest Idaho and Spokane, Washington has been degrading for years. "Popular Mechanics" magazine rated this one of the worst 10 pieces of infrastructure in the U.S. It was replaced in 2009.

Tappan Zee Bridge (05:20)

This major commuter bridge in New York has had punch throughs that have made the Hudson River visible below. it was constructed during the Korean War with a design life of 50 years.

Improvised Levies (06:14)

Sacramento, California faces the greatest risk of catastrophic levy failure. Underseepage could lead to its collapse. Farmers used sand and gravel to protect their crops from flooding at the turn of the 20th century.

Hidden Infrastructure (05:20)

An estimated 240,000 water mains break in the U.S. each year due to clogs, corrosion, and lack of maintenance. Montgomery County, Maryland has some of the worst pipes in the country.

Delaware Aqueduct (07:14)

Fire hydrants cannot function without sufficient water flow; leaky pipes can cause inefficiency. New York City's drinking water infrastructure is at risk due to leakage in the world's longest tunnel.

U.S Interstate System (04:58)

A third of the country's major highways are in disrepair. The country's major roads are aging and are supporting more traffic than they were meant to.

Patch and Pray Approach (03:19)

Maintenance and good drainage are critical for roads. The main east-west route through St. Louis has been shut down because it is dangerous; workers are rebuilding one section from scratch.

Endemic Sewer Problems (07:08)

Experts conduct a smoke test in St. Louis to detect leaks in the city's sewer system. Raw waste is tough on pipes and sewage pipes are often not pressurized, making it easier for ground water and organic matter to seep in and create cracks.

Dam Breaches (05:18)

In 1976, the Grand Teton Dam in Idaho breached and 14 people died. There are 1,800 high hazard dams in the U.S. Inspections are critical, but programs have been severely cut.

Wolf Creek Dam (06:40)

See the damage that could occur during a catastrophic breach; it would reach Nashville in a matter of days.

California Delta Disaster (07:49)

If an earthquake wipes out the dirt levees east of San Francisco Bay, a chain of events could occur that would contaminate the drinking water supply for half of California. Farmers diligently inspect the levies for seepage or sloughing.

Northeast Blackout of 2003 (07:00)

The U.S. power grid is aging and overwhelmed as demand for electricity continues to increase. Transformers, power lines, and utility poles are long overdue for replacement.

Future of U.S. Power Grid (03:06)

The industry needs to spend over a trillion dollars by 2030 to update the country's power infrastructure. A self-adjusting smart grid could utilize more efficient smart appliances and electric vehicles.

Global Warming (03:50)

If the U.S. does not spend the money necessary to fix infrastructure issues soon, the problems will get worse and more expensive. Changing weather patterns will affect how the country can use coastlines.

St. Anthony Falls Bridge (04:31)

The new I-35 bridge in Minneapolis is a model for how future bridges should be constructed. It has a design life 50% longer than conventional bridges.

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Crumbling of America

3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



America's infrastructure is collapsing. Tens of thousands of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A third of the nation's highways are in poor or mediocre shape.

Length: 91 minutes

Item#: BVL279866

Copyright date: ©2009

Closed Captioned

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