Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wikipedia and the I-35W collapse

As expected, Wikipedia now has a good initial entry on the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse. This will be the place to go over the next few weeks and months to get an understanding of what happened. The Wikipedia article references the National Bridge Inventory but I was unable to find any record for the 35W bridge at this time. I will be most interested in seeing a list of bridges of similar age, design and history -- though one or more of construction error and local geology may turn out to be relatively unique contributors.

The Wikipedia article links to the Silver Bridge collapse of 1967, the outcome of the subsequent investigation suggests what may lie ahead:

... The collapse focused much needed attention on the condition of older bridges, leading to intensified inspection protocols and numerous eventual replacements. There were only three other bridges built to a similar design, one upstream at St Mary's and a longer bridge at Florianopolis, Brazil. They were both closed immediately, and the St Mary's bridge demolished in 1971....

I suspect we'll know within a few days which bridges in the US have a similar design.

Update 8/2/07: Culturally, slow to anger, but ....

Update 8/2/07: I've seen mentions of a bridge failure in 1983, the reference is to metal corrosion that caused the collapse of the Mianus River Bridge in Connecticut, killing 3 people and injuring 5 others. Wikipedia has a list of bridge disasters.

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