Let’s play out the possible I35W bridge collapse scenarios: a greedy contractor in 1967 overrules an engineer’s insistence that the gussets on the Minneapolis I35W bridge be an inch thick. More money could flow to the bottom line is those gussets are only a half-inch thick. A less likely scenario in my opinion is that an engineer or group of engineers simply miscalculated. Then they’ll be the courtroom defense scenario: the half-inch gussetts were fine for traffic volume when the bridge was built in 1967, but could not possibly have accounted for increased traffic and heavier trucks 30-40 years into the future.
It won’t be clearcut, but someone somewhere, if they’re still alive should feel awful. Someone likely knows their work cost lives and untold grief for for the survivors. The Dept. of Transportation has issued an advisory that gussets for the nation 13,000 steel truss bridges should be checked. We await the final report on the cause, but all the telltale signs of trouble were there - missing bolts, corrosion and reports of swaying.
I am not a bridge or civil engineer, but knowing a bit about steel and having climbed the below deck super structure of the John Greenleaf Whitter Bridge as an adolescent, a half-inch plate steel gussett isn’t enough to take 7×24x365 pounding. This Warren-truss bridge connects Newburyport and Amesbury, Mass. via I-95.
connecting Amein Salisbury, Mass.
It’ll be very interesting when and if the
Somewhere an engineers or group of engineers know they will burn in gussett hell. Or someone who overuled