Saturday, August 04, 2007

Wild 35W Bridge Collapse Theories

Hi All!

No, Bush and Pawlenty didn't plot it.

Why so few casualties?

4 out of 8 lanes were closed for repair, the two outer North and Southbound lanes were open, but there was nothing in the middle except the construction gear.

Therefore, the number of cars that could be on the bridge was half of normal.

What's more, traffic was slow and go. Imagine the scenario of all 8 lanes running cars through at 60-65mph?

Think of the chain reaction crashes behind the ends of the bridge if traffic weren't nearly stopped.

Think of the numbers of cars that would have flown off the edge.

Normally, without construction, at that time, the exit to Washington and the Metrodome would be slow and go, and all the other lanes would have been flowing at least 50-60mph, based on my hundreds of trips through there in that circumstance.

So, the bridge had perhaps 4 lanes pretty full of cars that were basically not moving much. Most rode the drop or managed to brake on the inclined portions of the collapse.

It could have been so so so much worse under normal circumstances.

Why Did the Bridge Collapse?

Way out on a limb on this one, but all the weight was on the far sides of the road, with the middle 4 lanes blocked for construction.

Dead weight, as traffic was crawling.

An imbalance?

Just had to post this to be able to claim credit in the unlikely event one or both of theses theories are shown to have held merit.

I have not to date heard them anywhere else.



Blogger peter hoh said...

The middle 4 lanes were not blocked for construction. The lanes blocked by construction were the left-most 2 lanes on the southbound side (headed toward downtown) and the right-most 2 lanes on the northbound side.

Starting at the lock and dam and working downriver, it was 2 lanes of traffic, 2 lanes of construction, 2 lanes of traffic, and 2 lanes of construction.

Glad to see that I can post here. Mitch's site won't let me post comments.

3:08 PM  

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