Washington I-5 bridge over Skagit River collapses

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by mangxema, May 24, 2013.

  1. mangxema

    mangxema I

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    I'm not familiar with that part of the country, but this seems like an important bridge, especially with respect to traffic in and out of Canada. Interestingly, it doesn't appear to have been one of the structurally deficient bridges.. it just kind of sucked?

    Local coverage here

    (Also, for those keeping score, this is sadly not an unprecedented event, although thankfully this one is in a more rural area.)
     
  2. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    A bridge falling on its own is quite different than a bridge collapsing because of a truck apparently carrying a load that was too large for the maximum clearance. If that is actually what occurred, this has massive lawsuit and even criminal charges written all over it.

     
  3. Silurian

    Silurian Deity

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  4. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Still though, it's strange that there would be a load too large for an Interstate Highway. I guess trucks weren't that huge in 1955.
     
  5. Silurian

    Silurian Deity

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    The bridge has 457mm less clearence than current standards.
    But that is beside the point.

    This load was above the legal height for unrestricted movement so the haulier should have checked.

    Picture of load that hit the bridge.

    http://seattletimes.com/ABPub/zoom/html/2021046256.html
     
  6. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    There's been a big increase in the size and weight of allowed trucks over the past 60 years. Technically the weight limit has been stuck at 80,000 pounds (for a single trailer) since I think the 70s or 80s. But you can get oversized load permits. In the meantime a standard truck trailer has gone from 24 feet to 53 feet in length, width from 8 to 8.5 feet. Height of a standard trailer is supposed to be capped at 13' 6", but there are all sorts of non-standard loads on open truck trailers.

    It is the responsibility of the truck operator to know of the size and weight restrictions on any road that use. But it's actually pretty common on their part to just assume that they will get away with it, figuring that there's always a fudge factor in the posted sizes. This being only one of many times that turned out to not be true.
     
  7. MobBoss

    MobBoss Off-Topic Overlord

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    That particular bridge has been getting bad safety/structural ratings for a long while now. In any event, it should have been able to withstand a truck hitting it in what amounted to a traffic accident without falling into the river.

    This could be a case where liability is split between the truck company and Washington DOT.
     
  8. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

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    Too bad spending money to fix bridges and roads is SOCIALISM
     
  9. galdre

    galdre Emperor

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    Damn, that's close to me and I hadn't even heard about it yet. I-5 is a major freeway; it's the main north-south route through the west coast states. I've taken that bridge quite a few times.
     
  10. Silurian

    Silurian Deity

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    I understand that there are other bridges in the state with lower ratings.

    From ASCE

    http://blogs.asce.org/govrel/2013/0...n=washington-state-report-card-released-today

    I don't know what caused this bridge to fail but it appears to have slid off the pier bearings. The bearing shelf on the abutment is very overgrown. Maybe there was a problem with the expansion joint at the abutment which has allowed excess water down onto the abutment bearings to allow the plant growth. The water could have caused the bearings at the abutment to seize. So the span may have been pulling off the pier bearings and when the truck hit it pushed it over the edge.

    Obviously more money needs to be spent on maintenance.
     
  11. NBAfan

    NBAfan boss

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    Don't you know, taxes to fix roads are unconstitutional!

    The problem is there aren't high enough taxes to pay for it. I saw this interesting article that said that most of the roads were paid for by cities projecting future growth in taxes from new residents, instead of paying for it up front. Now that many areas have stopped growing, those cities can't pay afford all the road maintenance anymore.
     
  12. MobBoss

    MobBoss Off-Topic Overlord

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    :rolleyes:

    Actually, we use tolls here in Washington State to pay for them.
     
  13. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    Tolls seem to be working great.
     
  14. Leonel

    Leonel Breakfast Connoisseur

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    I know that bridge well enough. I've traveled over it several times in the past couple of years. It'll be interesting to figure out how to get back home after a small day trip into the countryside.
     
  15. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Bootstrap it across the river you parasite.
     
  16. FriendlyFire

    FriendlyFire Codex WMDicanious

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    A 60 year old bridge isnt designed to withstand hits from these heavy load trucks. Its appears from the security camera footage that the upper steel truse (sp?) was hit repeatedly by the fast moving truck which was accelerating. This was enough to weaken the upper load strength, causing it fold up.

    Modern truse bridges are designed to withstand heavy truck impacts.

    I guess we will find out in a few months time what really happened.
     
  17. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    I imagine this will happen more and more in the next couple of decades. The American Society of Civil Engineers is calling for trillions of dollars the United States simply doesn't have, just to maintain the asphalt we've got now. Roads and bridges all across the country are in shambles because our land-use patterns don't pay for the infrastructure they require..


    (Yes, trillions. As in 3.6, by the end of the decade.)
     
  18. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    3.6t is a drop in the bucket for us if we give up the wars of choice, trim back our military spending, get serious about entitlemebt reform and break the madness of fiscal cliff fantasies. It is not like the 3.6t has to be spent all at once...
     
  19. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Emperor

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    But you guys need to promote liberty, kill terrorists, and teach people the American style of democracy.
     
  20. cav scout

    cav scout The Continuum

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    And abolish the space program.
     

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