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Minneapolis Interstate Bridge Collapse

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Michael_K_Sr, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Well-Known Member

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    Anyone seeing footage of this right now? An eight lane highway bridge over the Mississippi River has collapsed during rush hour sending a couple dozen cars and trucks crashing to the ground and into the water. Looks like a school bus may have been among the vehicles on the bridge at the time. The images are stunning. A demolition crew couldn't have done a much more complete job.
     
  2. Blu

    Blu Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a earthquake hit but apparently it was just weakened due to construction.
     
  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    Only one section of the SF/Oakland bay bridge collapsed after the 1989 earthquake. I'm shocked how every single section fell down here. What the heck did the contractors do: remove the link pins from multiple sections? [​IMG]

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20079534/
     
  4. mazersteven

    mazersteven Well-Known Member

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    I have been watching this for a few hours now. They are saying the construction was only road resurfacing. That shouldn't have caused the bridge to collapse.


    3 dead and dozens seriously hurt. I guess people have lost limbs, and broken bones.
     
  5. Steve Kuester

    Steve Kuester Well-Known Member

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    Just crazy. Luckily my wife is out of town on work this week, because that's the highway her bus takes on the way home.
     
  6. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Stunning, indeed.

    We had a bridge collapse on an interstate highway in the Albany-area 20 years ago. Bad memories.

    These are from foxnews.com of today's collapse:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Well-Known Member

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    Incredible indeed... there is something oddly chilling seeing a bridge you've driven on hundreds and hundreds of times collapsed like that. Something surreal too, seeing the city you live in featured on BBC news for a story like this...
     
  8. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Well-Known Member

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    CNN has posted video that someone happened to be filming at the time of the collapse. Amazing how the deck just sheared off.
     
  9. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Well-Known Member

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    What a scary event. One of the hundreds of things we take for granted every single day, the integrity of a bridge we cross...crazy.

    From everything I have heard so far the road re-surfacing does not appear to be in any way related to the collapse.
     
  10. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Well-Known Member

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    Totally unbelievable.
    We travel this bridge many times a week.

    It is very fortunate that we are in a major drought; the river is down by over half of its normal flow.
    It is also good the six of the eight traffic nearly 2000’ lanes had been closed, therefore fewer cars on the bridge & the fact the cars had been in bumper to bumper stop and go 15mph mode and not moving at 55-60 mph. The traffic was decreased greatly due to the lane closure delays.

    Could you imagine if this had taken place if all lanes had been open and river levels at normal at rush hour, nearly 16000’ of traffic lanes moving 55+ mph

    I bet it comes back as fault to weight load shifts “side to side” because of the resurfacing work and shifting of traffic, as well as the weight of fresh concrete prior that shift the weights on a weaken structure.
    I mean you remove surface material from one side, and then send traffic on the other
    and repeat this many times over during this project that was in the completing stages just about ready to pour that final 2” surface of a few of those closed lanes.

    It was a recipe to find and further weaken those already weakened structural areas.

    My heart goes out to all those that have personally suffered directly from this tragedy.

    Traffic was already bad in this area, it will only be worse for the next few years that is will take to replace this massive sized bridge.
     
  11. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Well-Known Member

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    Thank God that the concrete rail next to that bus held, there had been nearly 60 kids that had been returning home after spending the day just blocks from our home in Coon Rapids, they had been at the water park.

    If the rail had not held, that bus still had a good 30' or so drop to the solid ground.
     
  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    On that very subject...we had the deck of a bridge drop 8 to 10 inches about 9pm one night a year or two ago here in the Albany area. The first car who happened upon it dropped onto the fallen deck and got stuck. Somehow she managed to free the car and make a quick call so that noone got hurt and the bridge was immediately close (a support had given way).

    The ramp was closed for several months until repairs were made.

    This is a ramp I take every day to work. The woman who first encountered the problem is said to have lingering emotional problems about it. But I suspect most other people who commute throughout the area (including myself among them) don't think twice much about the structural integrity of the massive bridge/highway infrastructure that was built in the 70s and is now starting to age.

    I actually believe many highway drivers don't even realize they are crossing a bridge that is part of a highway system. So, they don't think about treating that portion of their drive any differently even if there is a cold precipitation falling.
     
  13. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking the guy in the white SUV is probably thinking he's the luckiest man alive after yesterday...he might be right.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. MarkMel

    MarkMel Well-Known Member

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    Looks like when the Mianus River bridge on 95 here in CT let go in 1983. Weakened link pins was the cause of that one.
     
  15. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I'd say you're right about that! [​IMG]

    Of course, anyone who was on that bridge and survived must be thinking they're the luckiest ones alive!
     
  16. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Well-Known Member

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    Was that Schoharie Creek bridge collapse in 1987? I believe it took a couple of years to rebuild that bridge.

    I would not be surprised that the new I-35W bridge could take 3-4 years to build, probably an all-new all-concrete bridge or some sort of suspension bridge.
     
  17. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    [​IMG]
     
  18. Lee ps

    Lee ps Active Member

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    Has that section of 35W always been eight lanes? I have not used that highway in 20 years, but I seem to recall that the exit to the West Bank took some time to be opened. Or, was the exit always there but a dedicated exit lane was of a later construction?
     
  19. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Well-Known Member

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    And, that was a two-fold result: of short-sighted engineering and, as Mike correctly notes, extreme and unusual weather conditions. Because that stretch of river didn't normally swell like that, the footings weren't anchored with pylons drilled into the bedrock. The shore eroded out from underneath the footings, literally washing the I-90 bridge out from under itself.

    What's unusual about the the 35W bridge is both the quick, catastrophic nature of the collapse and the lack of any clear cause; there were problem spots, but none that should have caused anything like what happened.

    Thinking back to the Northeast power outage a couple years ago and Katrina and now this, though, I'm hoping the time is finally ripe for a frank discussion about this nation's infrastructure. We're no longer the nation of President Eisenhower. The infrastructure he brought into fruition is no longer enough.
     
  20. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Well-Known Member

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    I saw that on an "Engineering Disasters" episode of History Channel's Modern Marvels show. They determined that the bridge collapsed due to unusually high floodwaters that severely damaged the piers to the bridge, which caused its collapse.

    The I-35W bridge collapse will likely focus on these factors:

    1) Was the bridge's basic structural design strong enough to start with? (If you've seen the spindly steel structure of the bridge plus the unusual small concrete supports on each riverbank, you know what I mean.)

    2) Was the bridge's steel structure suffering more corrosive damage than anticipated? (Note the unusual amount of corrosion at steel structures behing held up by the concrete piers.)

    3) Was the bridge carrying loads beyond the original design specifications? (Note that with more traffic, the load from vehicles is far heavier than what the engineers who designed the bridge projected.)

    4) Was the bridge liable to fail in a single-point structural failure? (Given the spindly steel structure and small concrete supports, could even a minor structural failure cause a ripple effect that will collapse the entire bridge structure?)
     

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