So in the midst of last night’s episode of Survivor, an ad comes on that jumps out of the TV at me. It’s a riveting futuristic marvel featuring a transformer-like plane swooping into a disaster area to effect a dramatic last-minute rescue atop a crumbling debris-strewn bridge littered with debris, presumably deposited by a Katrina-esque hurricane.
Removing the injured and taking off literally nanoseconds before the span collapses, I’m rapt wondering if this is a spot for Skyline, Harry Potter and the I Don’t Give a Crap, or perhaps one final political ad from Meg Whitman, until the familiarity of the location breaks the spell and I grab the remote and take myself back to the bridge. Sure enough, I pause the scene and grab the cam:
Though I’d guess the US Air Force recruitment commercial is trying to conjure up a New Orleans bridge over the Mississippi, what you’re really looking at above is a downtownward-looking angle from our very own historic 6th Street Viaduct, albeit augmented with severe storm crap (is that part of a house?) atop a heavily CGI’d river flowing below it, literally bank-to-bank.
Ironically, there’s some truth in the apocalyptic ad showing the bridge falling apart, because indeed it slowly is. The concrete made on-site when the Merrill Butler-designed landmark was completed in 1932 is slowly failing.
From the Bridge’s Wiki page:
The quality of the concrete turned out to have a high alkali content and lead to an alkali-silica reaction which creates cracks in the concrete and saps the strength of the structure. Current estimates are that the viaduct has a 70% probability of collapse due to a major earthquake within 50 years.