The Twin Cities bridge collapse particularly captures attention in this household, however. On the personal level, we're acquainted with the bridge in question and are relieved that no calls have come about lost or missing relatives. On the larger scale, we're unhappy to hear that the Bay Bridge is in worse shape than the 35W (never mind that we drive it occasionally, it is much, much longer than the 35W and is full of cars all day long) and that thousands of bridges around the country are in similar condition.
Admittedly, I've known for years that American bridges were in bad shape, but one doesn't generally envision them just collapsing for no apparent reason. It's also unsettling to hear that one reason there have been so few deaths on the 35W was that it had no real superstructure to fall on anyone. A great many American bridges, the Bay Bridge included, are suspension bridges or have some other sort of hardware that could fall onto the surface.
At the same time, I must say that I am not impressed by efforts to make the 35W sound like a disaster on the level of Hurricane Katrina. While it's shocking, disruptive, and killed at least five people while injuring and distressing many more, there is really no comparison. I suspect that more than five people are killed in the Twin Cities in ordinary traffic accidents each day, although I hope I am wrong about that. (I was heartened to hear that biking and public transit are popular methods of getting to work there.)
One can only hope that 35W will actually spur bridge repair across the country, though I am skeptical that this will happen.