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We are all careful checking our car's tires and brakes and replacing them well in time. So what is with the replacement of infrastructure like gas pipes and bridges? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to be the mantra here.
The shocking gas pipeline burst in San Bruno,California is being attributed to overdue replacement of high pressure gas pipelines. Today there was a caller on radio from the North East US who was anxiously wanting to know if there was any way to find out the layout of high pressure lines just to be vigilant for any smell of leaking gas. In fact, San Bruno residents did report leaking gas – but probably not soon enough.
And then we had the Mississippi bridge that collapsed and thankfully lot's of other unsafe bridges are now being banned from use.
Engineering and technical folks concerned with infrastructure are great in the US and do report the need for replacement and renewal on time. The B2B organizational decision system (or "catchers" of the technical advise) is not very effective on preventive maintenance- more so when the implementer is a budget strapped local,state or federal government.
In addition, there is really no focussed sales pressure on policy makers to renew infrastructure in the same manner as your local tire and brake shop who puts out all kinds of leaflets,deals and re-inforces the need for safety just as large auto service and tire companies keep up the message of tires and brakes on TV.
Maybe infrastructure companies should advertise to the general public so that awareness and pressure builds on timely renewal of at least safety infrastructure. An associated benefit will be more jobs in the infrastructure renewal projects.