Aside from the potentially larger cost differential, I also wonder if the simulations and other testing the researchers did adequately took into account the scale involved of the actual columns. Were the models full scale or smaller?
I remember traveling to Boston, for the first time, and the Big Dig was in process. What a complete mess! My fellow editor, an excellent driver and navigator who did all the driving and had gone to the same show in the same location a zillion times before, got lost, for the first time ever, on the way from the airport.
Yes, AandY, your comments and concerns echo what a lot of our readers think about this. While most agree it's a good step forward to strengthen structures against damage from quakes, they worry about the potential expense.
Earthquakes have for long been the cause of major destruction of infrastructure and these stronger materials should not only be used in bridges but everything else. Being able to have an earthquake that will only shake the ground and that's it is something that would come as a blessing since it is practically impossible to stop the earthquakes. What I am more worried about is the costs of the materials. The nickel titanium is not something that is as abundant as iron. This is a good idea but the sources of these minerals should also be considered. As far as the cost is concerned I do not thing it would be a bad idea since they would also last.
Yes, Nadine, too much flexibility is definitely a bad thing. I believe that was the case with the famed Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse, I think the consensus (if there is one) was that the bridge's long stiffening girder was too long and too flexible. See link.
I completely understand where you're coming from, OC. I traveled a lot to Boston while the Big Dig was going on and know what a nightmare that was for everyone it affected, either directly or indirectly. There definitely should be more fiscal responsibility from the outset for such projects.
NOT me, personally, BUT me as part of a community which through our taxes has paid for civic projects that became boondoggles, wells of corruption, graft, mismanagement, etc.
There are two blatant examples of such projects in recent U.S. history..... In the 1970s, LILCO (LONG ISLAND LIGHTING CO.) decided to build a nuclear electric power generating facility on the north shore of the Island. The proposal was for $65 MILLION. By the time it was sold to the State of New York, after 20 years of re-engineering, graft, corruption, etc., it cost the ratepayers of L.I. about $4 BILLION, and it never produced one watt of electric power for consumption by the public.
The second glaring example is the "BIG DIG" in the Boston area. Again, the cost overruns & incompetent engineering & other factors turned this project into the debacle of the century. It was so bad that the TV program, 60 MINUTES, did a segment on it.
I'm sure that IF one set his/her mind to it, they could find countless examples across this country of similar examples!
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