IRE Gets Most Inquiries Ever For Bridge Data

By: Joe Strupp Investigative Reporters and Editors, which maintains several databases of federal information, received more inquiries for National Bridge Inventory data in the first 24 hours after the Minneapolis bridge collapse than for any previous data since it began keeping such records 20 years ago., meanwhile, has posted an online map that offers bridge data for every state in the U.S., with the number of structures in each state deemed "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete." It is viewable here.

James Grimaldi, IRE president and a reporter at The Washington Post, said more than 100 requests for data from the bridge database, which the organization updates regularly and provides for a fee, were made to IRE in the day following the collapse. Among those were The Oregonian of Portland, The Boston Globe, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"This is the biggest number of requests in a 24-hour period," Grimaldi said, noting that most were from news outlets seeking information on bridges in their area. "It is a breakthrough in journalism because we have been pushing this stuff for decades. They know they can have this at their fingertips."

Beth Kopine, an IRE researcher handling the requests for data, said the calls continued this morning from papers in Michigan, as well as USA Today. "We have pulled together what resources we have access to and databases," she said. Kopine said the organization charges for the data, but "only to cover our costs."

IRE, which has been providing such database records for more than 20 years, posted on its site Web links to numerous related databases, as well as to past newspaper stories from Ohio to California on bridge safety issues. In addition, various IRE members have posted tip sheets for contact numbers and potential sources for those doing investigations into their own bridge-related stories. Those are provided free to IRE members.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here