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Failing dam a symbol of U.S. infrastructure 02/20/2017

The sorry state of American infrastructure is once again our focus. This time the peg is the Oroville Dam in California. It is the U.S.’s tallest dam, and it is in trouble. An emergency spillway was damaged, causing evacuation of 188,000 Californians.State and federal officials ignored the warnings of environmental groups who for more than a decade have been asking them to reinforce the dam’s spillway.How did we get to this sorry state? The short answer is partisan politics, informed by bad ideology and a focus on little more than the next election.Does anything reflect the state of American short-termism more than the slow, inevitable decay and eventual failure of key components of our transportation, electrical, water and sanitation systems? These are the most basic services government provides. The inability to do what so many other developed nations do so much better is why I have called each of the past 10 Congresses "the worst ever."Both political parties are to blame — but

Platt renovation on schedule except for auditorium, gymnasium 02/17/2017

MERIDEN — The general contractor for the Platt High School renovation project is working to get the school’s auditorium open in time for a production of Roger and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” in May.O&G Industries plans to complete the auditorium by mid-April to allow for final rehearsals, said Glenn Lamontagne, Board of Education project consultant. Performances begin May 11.“They’re going to get them in there,” he said.  Ceiling tiles in the auditorium were found to contain vermiculite, a fire-proofing chemical. Because it resembles asbestos under a microscope, it was removed “in an abundance of caution,” Lamontagne said. Students are currently rehearsing for “Cinderella” in the school’s choir room. Platt’s gymnasium floor also contained vermiculite, delaying completion to the third or fourth week of March after a troublesome removal. “The overall completion is on schedule” besides the gym and auditorium, according to Lamontagne. The Platt and M

More then 50 CT interstate bridges rated structurally deficient 02/16/2017

More than 50 Interstate bridges in Connecticut remain structurally deficient, according to a new study, of nearly 340 statewide crossed by vehicles 4.7 million times daily.Connecticut was among the states to reduce the percentage of structurally deficient bridges in 2016, down 5 percent from the year before according to an American Road & Transportation Builders Association analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation.Among Northeast states, only Vermont had a better record in 2016, reducing its inventory of deficient bridges by 18 percent, trailing only California’s whopping 30 percent reduction. New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island all saw increases in their preponderance of problem bridges.Of more than 4,200 bridges in Connecticut, 8 percent are classified as structurally deficient, according to ARTBA. About 1,070 bridges or 25 percent are classified as functionally obsolete with design standards no longer in line with current demands.ARTBA singl