Stories tagged bridge


Here are some of the most interesting perspectives on the 35W bridge collapse that I have run across in the last few days:

Cell phone network sends ominous signals - Engineers at T-Mobile were alerted that something had gone wrong right after the bridge collapse. They hadn't heard the new yet but saw a sharp change in cell phone activity on their network.

Government spending collapsed as well - A graph of US government spending on infrastructure over the last 55 years.

Historians and engineers have a thing or two to learn from each other - An editorial from 2006 of the history of engineering disasters.

Bridges made from glass - A prescient report from the National Science Foundation on poor infrastructure and the future of bridge technology.


7 dead, 60 injured (as of 1am, Aug 2)

I-35W bridge
I-35W bridge
tangled roadwayAt 6:05 pm, during peak traffic, the 35-W bridge over the Mississippi river collapsed. All eight lanes, all the way across, just dropped straight down into the river along with more than 50 cars, trucks, and even a school bus. How could this happen? Here is what I have found so far.

The I -35W bridge.

What does it look like? How is it made? It was a steel arch deck truss bridge. Its longest span stretched 458 feet between supports. It was built in 1967. (Link to photos and more data about the I-35W bridge.)

What might have gone wrong?

"The state, whoever did the inspection, which was likely to be MnDOT, noticed and observed cracking in the structural steel members, the main girders that hold the bridge up in the air. What it means is that the bridge is no longer going to stay stable," Galarn said.

Link to early video with a safty engineer about what might have went wrong.

How safe are other bridges?

Transportation Commissioner Len Levine who served under Governor Rudy Perpich (said) "between 40 and 50 percent of the 20,000 bridges in Minnesota are deficient in some way."

What is going to happen to traffic?

There will be added bus services from North metro area.
Map of detour routes.(pdf)

Where are photos of this disaster?

KSTP has lots of photos and updates.
Detroit Free Press had 25 photos.
34 photos on Flickr by blogger s4xton Read his story here.

Please use our comments to add updates, photo links, or thoughts.

I could not sleep so I started this after midnight. This story will keep growing so stay tuned and share what you know.


Shake it up

Bridge shaking experiment
Bridge shaking experiment
Want to see what happens to a bridge during an 8.0 magnitude earthquake? Huge "shake tables" help engineers understand the impact of earthquake forces on bridges and other construction.

You can watch

This Thursday (Feb 15) at 10 am Reno, Nevada time, a quarter scale, 110 ft., 4 span bridge section will be shaken by forces twice the intensity of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

The Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) website has provided links to a variety of resources:

Engineer James B. Eads, known for his bridge over the Mississippi at St. Louis, was born on May 23, 1820. The bridge wasn't his only claim to fame, though. He also invented a boat and diving bell that allowed him to run a salvage operation and made him a fortune. He also built ironclad warships for use during the Civil War, and a year-round navigation channel for New Orleans.