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I-80 and I-35 Bridge Report: How bad is that bridge you just crossed?


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3/12/2015
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Have you ever had the experience of driving under a bridge and while under it noticed spider cracking on the concrete supports? Or how about seeing bridge girders rusting with green paint peeling? Yikes me too!

My aunt Irene had a fear of crossing bridges while riding in a car. She would make my Uncle Leo stop so she could walk across. I am not sure how that changed anything about the bridge structure, but she thought it helped her to cross without the bridge collapsing from the weight of the car. No bridge ever did fall down from the weight of Leo's lemon yellow Cadillac.

In September of 1972 I enrolled in Wentworth Institute of Technology situated south of the Fenway on Huntington Avenue in Boston. I was seventeen and wanted to be an architect. In physics class they showed us an 8 mm film of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse which along with 8.6 million viewers you can watch by following this link. The bridge suffered a total collapse on Novermber 7, 1940. It would be another fourteen years and one day before I was born. But that day at Wentworth I stayed after class and watched this movie another five or more times. I thought it scary and awesome all at the same time. As the professor would explain, that same principle that made the bridge swing wider and wider, is the reason why soldiers break step when crossing a bridge in formation. It was all about cadence, momentum and energy. [After you watch the first video, stick around to watch the next YouTube clip and you can hear the sound of the winds that day as the bridge does its dance and finally collapses.

Watch the amazing "Gallopin' Gertie" November 7, 1940 film clip. 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge 
Slender, elegant and graceful, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge stretched like a steel ribbon across Puget Sound in 1940. The third longest suspension span in the world opened on July 1st. Only four months later, the great span's short life ended in disaster. "Galloping Gertie," collapsed in a windstorm on November 7,1940. 

Iowa has a lot bridges in need of repair and I have to wonder where the money will come from to pay for all those repairs. Perhaps Amazon will donate to the Iowa General Fund so you and I can be safe while crossing Iowa's rivers and streams. Yes? No? Today I am providing links to the reports for bridges in central Iowa and how they measure up to the DOT grading. Measuring Bridge Conditions Bridges are given a sufficiency rating as well as a Structurally Deficient or Functionally Obsolete classification. Sufficiency ratings indicate a bridge’s sufficiency to stay in service and help determine which bridges may need repair or replacement. Structurally Deficient (SD) refers to bridges needing significant maintenance, rehabilitation, or replacement, while Functionally Obsolete (FO) refers to bridges that no longer meet current design criteria, either because traffic volumes exceed what was anticipated or design standards have changed.

Key Fact: The Iowa DOT classified 40 bridges as functionally obsolete.

If it were me living in rural Iowa with all that heavy farm machinery and with county budgets being what they are, I for one would want to know the rating for the bridges my kids school bus uses. I uploaded a new bridge report for central Iowa. Read the report in the Lombardi Law Firm Resources section of our website. How Bad is that Bridge you just crossed?

Report: Dozens of metro bridges deemed deficient

BY BUSINESS RECORD STAFF | @BusinessRecord

Forty-five of the 405 bridges in the Des Moines metropolitan area have been deemed "structurally deficient," according to a report released today by the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The "Quality of Our Bridges" report was created by the MPO after the organization analyzed data from the National Bridge Inventory.

The MPO's analysis of bridges found:

  • Forty-five are classified as "structurally deficient," a federal classification given to bridges that need significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement.
  • Sixty are classified as "functionally obsolete," a federal classification for bridges that no longer meet current design criteria, due to such factors as traffic volumes or lane widths.
  • Eighty-one are eligible for federal funding through the Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program due to their classification as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

The report concludes that the region is on track to maintain current bridge conditions, a goal outlined in the long-range transportation plan, Mobilizing Tomorrow.



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