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Here in Quebec,Canada we just had two
bridge faillure in less than 7 years.

"Viaduc du souvenir", wich fell in 2000 while being renovated (mainly due to the uses of bad concrete apprently

And the more rescent "viaduc de la concorde"
Where google talk by its self...

I guess that the america are not so different after all...

Elaine Meinel Supkis

Cheap cement has killed lots of people over the years. How about bad cement in dams, for example? Thanks for the links, by the way!

Elaine Meinel Supkis

Go to the above web page for the story of the Concorde overpass collapse in Canada in 2006.

Quote: The head of a Quebec public inquiry probing the collapse of a Laval highway overpass last fall has warned the government that other road structures are deteriorating.

Pierre Marc Johnson, who is leading the provincial investigation into the Concorde overpass collapse, told the inquiry on Wednesday that for reasons of "public security," he alerted the Transport Department about his concerns about other roads.

"Researchers have demonstrated evidence of risk factors that could apply to other road works," Johnson said.

"For reasons of public safety, the commission has decided to alert the administrative authorities of the Quebec government."

Eric Blood Axe

Don't forget Brunel's railway bridges, lovely and still in use.


"Rusting Steel Struts Cause Bridge Collapse"

Oh, come on. It was a "controlled demolition". The charges were placed while it was being built. Everyone knowws that.


I have some experience with these bridges. At the Conn. Highway Dept., Div. of Surveys and Plans, we had people who put them up. My understanding is that when these things fall, it is generally due to fatigue cracking of the steel supports. In other words, hardly ever rust and so on. You can always sandblast rust off and repaint. I doubt very much that bad cement would do anything but create potholes, as the cement is not what holds it all together. What happens is after a certain number of cars and trucks go over, the vibration of travel causes tiny cracks in the steel to develop, and grow. Eventually the steel is full of tiny cracks, and loses it's strength. You could say that vehicles presenting a certain amount of weight can go over, and the life of the bridge is measured in the pounds that go over it.

I used to work at a company that used ultrasound to detect fatigue cracking in railroad rails. I think the ultrasound is the only way to detect it. I suppose some bridges can be scanned with ultrasound, and some cannot, if the necessary metal surfaces are not available. The thing is, after a certain amount of vehicle weight goes over a bridge, it will fail. So bridges really have a short lifespan unless they are significantly overbuilt.

I used to go on New York's West Side Highway. Holy shit! It was literally in collapse as we rode on it! You could see it. Those were the days.


The photo of the underside of the Minneapolis bridge is revealing. That is the skimpiest amount of steel I have seen anywhere. And all the corrosion and messiness indicates that it could not have been properly inspected in some time. That is a very sad bridge. Time to start looking under the bridges we use!

Elaine Meinel Supkis

As always, you are 100% correct as usual! Yes, there are hairline fractures within the steel and so on but on top of that, there is rust. As a person who used to teach welding etc at RPI, I assure you, steel that rusts and rots is WEAK. If you clean off the rust, you are making it thinner and thinner. do this for 40 years and the steel loses its thickness.

And yes, the trusses on this bridge were super-flimsy. Made my teeth go on edge.


"The Minnesota bridge didn't last 40 years."

Actually... it lasted just 40 years (built in 1967.)

Building to last... forever... costs more than anyone is willing to pay; "forever" is a long time. (The Romans built to last "forever", but they had different labor laws than we do.) Something you need to be aware of is that when The Government (Federal, state, or local) builds something, the lowest bidder gets the job. Otherwise, the taxpayer gets all annoyed.


Really, the ONLY proper way to build bridges is to build them in pairs. You must secure the property rights to build a second bridge in tandem with the first one, and the right of way takings, and cut and fill work must be in place to build the second one must be done in advance so the expense of doing it will not deter the construction of the second bridge will not be prohibitively expensive. The second one should be constructed 40 years later than the first. Bridges are highway construction, and highway work, unlike buildings, has a very short lifespan. There is nothing you can do, ultimately, to "rehabilitate" bridges that will make them safe. I don't see corrosion as a major factor, since, in the absence of salt, heavy iron work, involving several inches of steel, does not corrode to the point where rust can overtake the effect of vibration and pounding that embrittles the bridge metal. The corrosion would, however, interfere with ultrasound inspection. Pounding on the steel changes it's physical properties, making it harder, working it into a brittle state. In other words, you cannot "fix' bridges. They must be replaced every 40 years. (I also suspect that piers shift in the ground, maybe because of frost heave or something. Surveyors don't like that idea, maybe because they want to think their control point monuments are eternally accurate.)

Ultimately, All paved highways have an effective lifespan of not more than ten years, even with no traffic. In fact only maintained unpaved roads, like Italy's Appian Way, last forever.

We should be VERY leery of some stupid new move to "fix" all these bridges.

Ron Fetters

[1]The I35W bridge had a speed limit of 55mph...original blueprint had mandatory 50mph

[2]There were credible eyewitnesses to explosives set off in the steel superstructure 6 seconds before the bridge dropped. These people are afraid for their lives.

[3]If this was a terrorist attack, the Bush administration failed to 'protect America' and the Iraq War has no value to anyone.

[4]We need HELP getting this info to the forefront of the American public


I hope this incident could be a lesson for us. So we must always aware on the other things in our house and also what are the other defects of it to avoid accident. Thank you for your very nice posting.

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Wilmer Geraci

Oh, that's really bad! Though made of steel, it still collapsed badly! The proper authorities should do everything to keep our old bridges in good shape. We should not wait for something bad to happen before we act.


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