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Old 05-26-2013, 12:15 AM   #1
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Unhappy from BC (I5)

I just had lunch with a large group of sprint car racers from British Columbia.
They had come down from BC for a large well paying sprint race at the Greys Harbour Track in Elma, WA and had checked in to the hotel to rest up, mind you I saw about 5 very custom transport rigs, I would guess about $500,000 if a penny, all had custom living quarters.
They checked in Tuesday and when they turned on the TV the next day all they saw was the news about I-5 bridge.
Then after they got over the shock of not being able to go home with thier 65 foot rigs, they went up to the race track to register and found out the race had been cancelled due to the rain.
I haven't seen any of them since but thier trucks are still in the lot.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:48 AM   #2
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Yep, that is going to be a beeotch for awhile. I'm sure they will come up with some kind of temporary solution but the longer term answer is going to be challenging. How much money do you put into fixing a functionally obsolete bridge? And if you decide to build new, where do you get the money and how long does it take. Tough questions ahead.
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:03 AM   #3
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The money comes from gas tax's that Washington has used for other purpose's than those for which the tax is collected.

The trick to having it done in an prudently short period of time is to hire Non-Union labor, and pay a fairly large reward for each day the job is completed early.

The main problem is going to be the Bureaucrats, and Labor Unions, getting in the way!

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Old 05-26-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ed-Sommers View Post
The money comes from gas tax's that Washington has used for other purpose's than those for which the tax is collected.

Ed
I hear ya. Problem is that doing things that make sense doesn't always seem to be that obvious to politicians. Truthfully, a new bridge is going to cost a pile if they decide to go that route and it won't go up overnight. That is a funding problem no matter how you slice it. I"m sure insurance will anti up for some of the cost but it won't be enough.

The advantage of building anew would be that they can patch the current bridge and continue to use it while constructing the new one next to it.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:16 PM   #5
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Wash-DOT has already said they aren't considering replacing the entire bridge, just the section that collapsed. That may change, as this morning's news showed damage to the first two frames of the adjacent section on the vertical members on the west side.

I think the term "functionally obsolete" is an engineering term that non-engineers view as more serious than it really is. I would translate it as "The bridge was up to the best practices and standards back in 1955 when it was built. It isn't as good as today's design techniques and materials could make it."

It's also carrying a lot more traffic per day than it was originally designed to do, though the speed limit on the bridge is 60 rather than the original 70 mph.

I don't think the layout of the properties just around the bridge would permit a temporary bridge alongside or building a second one while fixing the old one so it's safe to be used. It would take too much money and legal wrangling to get enough space.

They could rebuild the freeway for about 12 miles the way I understand it was originally designed. If you look at the plan view on a map, you can see that, if the road went straight on after the Starbird Rd exit instead of turning slightly east, it would line up with the section at the truck scales north of the Cook Road interchange, not passing through Mount Vernon and Burlington at all. I think there was a lot of political pressure applied to get I-5 to go through the two cities. A shame really, because there isn't room to add a third lane.

From Grays Harbor, Larry, the racers could go up 101 and follow SR-20 to Port Townsend, then cross on the ferry to Coupeville. From Coupeville, over Deception Pass and SR-20 to I-5 in north Burlington and they avoid most of the mess. There's even a route going north from SR-20 through the countryside that would reach I-5 a few miles north of the Burlington detour routes.
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:56 PM   #6
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...And if you decide to build new, where do you get the money and how long does it take.
Loo at the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge here in California - it was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake - they were scheduled to have the grand opening of the new structure this weekend, until they found a bunch of structural components were manufactured wrong, and large bolts are shearing off BEFORE it sees any traffic! Most of the steel used in the bridge came from China, but these bolts were made in the good ole USA...
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:34 AM   #7
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Alan, don't necessarily blame the bolts. If the steel is as good as some of the stuff I've bought lately for my locomotive project it is at best relatively close to the spec I ordered. The steel ordered may not be the steel actually received.
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Old 05-29-2013, 04:20 PM   #8
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Alan, don't necessarily blame the bolts. If the steel is as good as some of the stuff I've bought lately for my locomotive project it is at best relatively close to the spec I ordered. The steel ordered may not be the steel actually received.
From what they've been reporting they simply ordered the wrong formulation, and the bolts are too brittle. Something to do with "pickling" when the steel is being made - I'm not a metallurgist; it's just what I've heard on the news.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:02 PM   #9
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From what they've been reporting they simply ordered the wrong formulation, and the bolts are too brittle. Something to do with "pickling" when the steel is being made - I'm not a metallurgist; it's just what I've heard on the news.
Pickling is a process where the producer of the product acid dips the steel to

a) clean off the oils and
b) change the hardness up a little.

I had no idea it could make the steel that brittle.

I always worked in the car sheet / structural beam production so I am very familiar with continuous pickling where the steel coils are run through an acid bath. The beams were sometimes batch pickled for removing the oils accumulated during production but not for a time long enough to alter the composition.
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:53 PM   #10
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The WA-DOT says a temporary bridge will be installed mid-June and a permanent replacement section in later September. Components for the temporary span are already showing up on site.

If they meet their proposed schedule, it will be a remarkable achievement.

We went through north Burlington on SR-20 yesterday and the congestion wasn't a problem. Since the detour routes were shortened to go just between exits 227 and 229, the area around exit 230 is fine.
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:23 PM   #11
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Frank, conspiracy theory 101 time again, but yesterday I heard a person on a Vancouver BC Radio talk Show try to convince the moderator that WA DOT had to have know one of the spans was about to come down because this action plan could not possibly have been put together inside of a month with all the normal bureaucracy required to approve such a plan.
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:39 PM   #12
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Dennis:

So WA DOT paid a Canadian truck driver to hit the span deliberately? What a load of codswallop!

The unfortunate thing is that these old bridges are not structurally redundant like a more modern span would be designed. One beam gets broken and the whole section goes down. It was just fortunate that there were only two vehicles on that section when it failed (though the three people who went into the river might not think they were fortunate!). Friends of ours had crossed just 10 minutes before it collapsed. They feel fortunate.
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:36 PM   #13
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His point was that the span would soon come down and preparations were already in place to repair said pending problem quickly. I do not subscribe to the theory just passing it on. It does look like the initial hit was not all that powerful as the trailer in question is not all that damaged.
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:29 AM   #14
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Sounds like the temporary span is set to go into service today, less than a month after the collapse. Kudos for such a speedy repair.
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