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I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.
9

I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

I don’t have experience inspecting bridge superstructures, but it seems like the corrosion at the failure plane would take longer than a couple of months, but maybe I’m missing something.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

That fracture looks too pristine for a shear fracture... but, I don't know what else could have caused it.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

I've seen local news items that the "Mile Long Bridge" in Texas has been closed due to a boater seeing a piece fall off the bridge. But haven't seen any details of what the actual failure consists of yet...

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Is the necking due to corrosion or is this a tensile failure?

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.


The totally flat failure surfaces indicates a brittle fracture... corrosion is too bad to speculate more. With 'necking' you often introduce a triaxial state that would produce a different failure surface.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Something is odd about that failure.

What sort of 'screw up' would require demolition? and who is responsible? Do they have liability insurance? Is this a matter for the engineering association? Lots of little questions?

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

I like that guy kicking the RIDOT head where it counts for the claim of a magic overweight truck that caused all the steel to corrode.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Quote (dik)

What sort of 'screw up' would require demolition?

Inadequate maintenance for a long time would do it, I guess. If you dig into the RIDOT public documents, those securing rods have wasted away significantly (down to something like two thirds of their original diameter). That didn't happen overnight, and is just one of many seriously degraded structural elements.

If they have let it go too far, it may be just more economical to demolish it. It also seems that they may be able to get an emergency handout from Uncle Sam if they declare it a total loss.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

...and no responsibility for the inadequate design?ponder

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Is the design inadequate? (I don't know.) Empirically, it seems to have been at least minimally adequate to have stood for many decades of steadily increasing traffic. Even if there are design elements which could have been better, it seems to me that the problem is primarily letting it deteriorate to the point where they now consider it to be dangerous.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

I would suggest that with the short life span that the design was inadequate. I've designed parking garages for nearly 50 years, and serviceabilty was always a top priority. Nearly always in corrosive environments. Yes, it's part of an engineer's expertise... not only knowing about it, but also being able to accommodate it. pipe

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

I imagine one of dik's parking garages still standing among the rubble of a ruined city one thousand years from now, a gleaming jewel surrounded by old-growth forests and visited as a pilgrimage site by followers of the church of Ford who keep the stories of the Aw-tah-mah-bil alive for the next generation.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

dik,

You may have missed that the bridge is 56 years old. Who are you going to hold responsible?

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

You set up standards so this sort of problem doesn't occur. About 3 years back I was in Toronto and visited a parkade I'd done about 40 years earlier... it was still operational and in reasonably good shape... no concrete spalling from the beams and it had been 'recovered' twice.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Quote (one thousand years from now)


a thousand might be pushing it a tad... maybe half that...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

I've been told that these tie-downs have been known to be an issue for years. Inspections performed by 3rd parties have noted this. The current rumor is that the DOT director has known this for that period of time and deferred the repairs due to concerns the repairs would have on traffic.... haha

Dik - 50 to 70-year service life of bridges is common around here for bridges built in that era. Now, they are shooting for 100 years for new construction. The real issue is deferred maintenance.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Our local council have just started repairs on a local bridge. (Northumberland, UK).
It's only 400 yrs old this year.

https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/News/2024/Jan/Re...

Politicians like to panic, they need activity. It is their substitute for achievement.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

A design, however good, or bad, is ultimately limited by maintenance; the Golden Gate bridge essentially has continuous maintenance, had the maintenance lapsed, it would have rusted and corroded and collapsed by now. This effect is easily seen in houses, where two houses, built exactly the same, can show differences in wear and tear, based on whether the homeowners protected exposed wood, etc.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Neglect is a whole other issue. With proper care, the lifetime can be greatly extended.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

(OP)
The Findout meter be goin' Ding Ding Ding .....

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Part of the letter includes:



Any time I've provided forensic reports, I've completed them on my laptop... and with technincal material, there may be more than half a dozen drafts. Once I've completed the report, I then uploaded it to the project file (This occasionally would irritate IT guys, but I could accommodate that). Most medium or large companies with an IT have a server system that automatically provided a daily (or whatever) backup. My approach only left one copy.

I do that with all reports that I've prepared for other companies.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

There is a rather unfortunate practice in some government agencies that when a consultant tells you his report is going to bare bad news, you tell the consultant to submit a draft copy (and never ask for a final copy) This is done because many FOIA laws exempt drafts. I worked for a state agency for a time and saw this practice first hand.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Sometimes it cannot be avoided such as, "...including all drafts." That's pretty specific. If required to provide a 'draft' I would only copy it from lawyer to lawyer to maintain attorney-client priviledge.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

(OP)
I spent some time on this weeks ago and couldn't make much sense of it. I guess that was by design, a design better than the structural one.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Part of the back story

Quote (https://www.wpri.com/target-12/legal-battles-and-d...)

State highway officials were well aware five years ago that the westbound side of the Washington Bridge was in bad shape.

NBC 10 I-Team: Draft report analyzes Washington Bridge, but makes no recommendation. by NBC 10 NEWSThu,port which is att February 22nd 2024 at 3:56 PM Updated Thu, February 22nd 2024 at 6:42 PM

This report included a draft copy of the engineering report, which is planned to be released in a few weeks. Copy attached to this message.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

(OP)
Thx. Looks bad.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

More drama. Real progress comes later?

Quote (https://rhodeislandcurrent.com/briefs/feds-extend-...)

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has an extra three weeks to deliver documents and records related to the partial Washington Bridge closure to the federal government.
New date is March 18 2024.

Quote (https://rhodeislandcurrent.com/2024/03/01/east-bay...)

An East Bay lawmaker has introduced legislation that would require the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to produce a monthly public report with updates on the response to the partial closure of the Washington Bridge.
It seems that it is not just the FEDS that have a trust problem with RDOT.
Reciently published - Travel Time Dashboard seems useful.


MAP: Here are the structurally deficient bridges in RI by: Eli Sherman, Tim White; Target 12
The number of bridges reported as "Poor" is 14% of the total.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

(OP)
The bridges are so bad it's beyond laughable. Why aren't the voters holding their governments to account?


Google Maps

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

5
There is nothing more permanent than a temporary fix that works.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Sym P. le - FWIW, That's the Route 37 overpass. They are currently working on replacing all of the bridges along Route 37. This temporary shoring was done as part of the work to hold off on replacing this span until later in the project schedule. The contractor that initially won the job recently went out of business, which may explain why this bridge section hasn't been replaced yet. They dragged their feet on that job hoping for a miracle to save their butt. The new contractor that took over seems to be working slightly faster than the previous one.

Ironically, that contractor went out of business shortly after losing the bid to do work on the Washington Bridge. Here's the owner's middle finger to RIDOT as his company was falling into the grave.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Is someone in RIDOT going to prison? I'm thinking someone should be going to prison. No idea on the direct evidence, but the circumstantial evidence that suggests fraud is rather large.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

I don't know if this particular bridge failure is road salt-related, but it always blows my mind that road authorities in North America still allow this.

It would almost be more cost-effective in the long term to install hydronic heating in the deck, rather than have to replace bridges a good 50 years sooner than designed for.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

The energy costs to heat all that concrete above freezing are not insignificant. The Hammersmith flyover in London was built with electric heating elements in the deck, with an annual cost equivalent to £100,000 in 2021 for the electricity. There's also the question of longevity of the heating elements, with the system failing a "long time" before 2000 (the structure was built in 1961). More than a decade of using road salt then critically damaged the structure by 2011, with the posttensioning tendons severely corroded.

I guess the economics would more or less work out on it, as the repairs and creation of a new post-tensioning system around the structure have cost £100 million, so roughly 1000 years of the running cost of the electric de-icing system. Some of that repair cost would likely have been necessary even if the electric system had not failed, so it's not a direct comparison between the two costs.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Salt deicing is common in colder NA climates...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

It's been salted. And salted. And salted.

I keep watching South Main Auto on YouTube. He's up in New York but that's close. His experience seems to be that cars there last 5 years due to the salt.

Near me a sidewalk was poured in-place and partly cantilevered off the edge of a vehicle bridge and anchored with steel rod/rebar. This made for a small crevice under the sidewalk, which also served as the curb and the roadway. After 10-15 years the rod(s) that was exposed in that crevice was essentially sawed through by the salt and water. Then entire sidewalk came loose (60 foot+ span) onto the highway below; fortunately at night with only a few cars nearby. The images showed the rebar was flush with the pavement, like someone took an angle grinder to smooth it. If one did not know it was supposed to there the only other clue was the broad stain of rust leading off under where the sidewalk used to be and down the side of the road.

Big question - why are so many bridges in rust areas not designed with obvious runoff paths on all structural members. I see i-beams with sharp corners at the flanges to the webs and dirt just piles up on there, trapping moisture and salt. Almost always when I see a rust hole it's right there. I know the plan is for the gutters and drains to work, but they don't seem to work nearly long enough.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Quote (3DDave)

It's been salted. And salted. And salted.

I keep watching South Main Auto on YouTube. He's up in New York but that's close. His experience seems to be that cars there last 5 years due to the salt.

We had one car rust out after 7 years, but in most cases they last much longer despite the aggressive salting. It would be an economic issue if they only lasted 5 years.

I should note, however, that the weather is unusually mild in coastal RI, including West Providence, and the quantity of salt required is not what you would expect if you live inland elsewhere in the Northeast.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

He gets a lot of American made pickup trucks.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

When the Datsuns first came out they lasted about half that time... they've really improved.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

The RIDOT Director states the bridge needs to be torn down and replaced. Their preliminary schedule indicates the replacement bridge will be open for traffic sometime between the spring and fall of 2026. Estimated costs between $200-$300M for demo and construction. The budget seems around right, but the schedule seems optimistic.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

(OP)

Quote (Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee)

cannot viably be repaired ...

No shick Poindexter. What will it cost to repair the integrity of R.I. governance?

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

It's like the schtick of the used car salesman, "It's about integrity, and once you can fake integrity, you have it made."

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

The final report is issued - see this link.
https://www.dot.ri.gov/projects/WashingtonBridgeCl...

A summary report is attached, which includes a proposed schedule of events estimated by RI DOT. Substantial completion is projected to be by summer 2026



RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

The enthalpy of fusion of water is 333.55J/kg. US lanes are at least 3.7m wide, fresh snow density generally varies between 50 and 200 kg/m^3. Ignoring shoulders, that means 620e3J/km/lane/cm_snow to 2.5e6J/km/lane/cm_snow. Equivalently 0.17kWh/km/lane/cm_snow, 0.69kWh/km/lane/cm_snow. According to this Rhode Island has 12,664 miles of road lanes, i.e. 20,301km. So per cm snow fall, that means about 3500-14000kWh per cm snow fall. A brief search shows the average annual snowfall for RI varies from 50-100cm or so, thus with an average industrial/commercial electricity price of $0.197/kWh between $35,000 and $276,000 annually. I couldn't quickly find average annual salt use for the state, but this Newport Daily News article says that in the 2017-2018 winter with above average snowfall they used 153269 tons of salt, and it seems to cost somewhere between $58-$60 per ton. So very roughly between $8,500,000 to $9,000,000 per year in salt use.

Of course heating elements make a lot of other road maintenance more difficult, and there's a big installation cost, but I could certainly see them being worthwhile for bridges & areas near bridges. Obviously it'd need a much more in-depth study than spending 20 minutes searching for rough average numbers on the internet & doing very back-of-the-napkin calculations.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

$35k to heat all of the 12,664 miles of roadway? Come on. That doesn’t pass the straight-face test and looks like an output from ChatGPT.

First, we would have to heat the roads more than just when it snows. It often rains in the day and freezes at night.

Good luck keeping them operational when the utility company trenches in a utility within five years of installing the heating elements.

I’m sure the paving companies will love milling through heating wires when they go to replace the roads.

I’m sure there are more logistical issues but I’m baffled by someone saying it could cost so little to heat so much area.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

I'm not sure, but I think the error is in thinking you can heat just the snow. You have to heat the entire surface of the bridge/road, with heat constantly being lost into the structure and environment. Certainly, $276k (taking the upper bound from the post above) is going to be orders of magnitude below the cost of heating 12,000 miles of highways. The Hammersmith flyover in London was reported to have an equivalent annual operating cost of around £100,000 in today's money for its original heating system, and that's just 2000 feet of elevated highway. Ok, that was built in 1961, so it's possible that a more efficient heating system could be built today, but I don't believe many orders of magnitude of efficiency could be found.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Sure, I'd expect a *lot* higher costs in practice. I only calculated the energy needed to *melt* that much snow, not to prevent ice forming when it's cold out, or to heat the road itself, or the cost of the heating elements themselves, or the cost of replacing the elements every time a road crew has to dig up the surface, or the costs of replacing the elements every time a pothole forms & breaks a connection... Just the costs of melting the snow. I expect the other costs to dominate by a large margin. But for the bridges themselves, it might make sense. The cost of replacing a bridge is quite large, if they could reduce the overall maintenance costs by eliminating salt use on the bridges by enough of a margin it could be worthwhile. But, again, needs a lot more than "first result on an internet search" numbers and much more detailed calculations than what fit in my previous post.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Right, good luck getting the salt truck drivers in a blizzard to turn off the salt sprayer as they go over every bridge. Not going to happen.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Virginia is making extensive use of salt brine application before storms, which significantly reduces the quantity of salt applied (reported to be 75% reduction). The resulting driving surface following our typical storms is as good as when salt / abrasive mix was used before and during storms.

https://www.caryinstitute.org/news-insights/guide/...

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

It's been used in the midwest for several years. And yes, it works pretty well for light snows or keeping the surface from glazing. Once you get a significant amount, however, its impacts begin to diminish (although it is still helpful in reducing the "sticking" of the snow to the road surface). Overall a pretty cost effective and useful technique.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

RI lawmakers are trying to change the rules of the game. From our local ACEC chapter:

“Yesterday House Bill 8318, An Act Relating to courts and civil procedure - procedure generally -- Causes of Action was introduced by two House Representatives Dawson and Boylan both from the East Bay. The bill raises serious concerns for the architecture/engineering/contractor community. This bill seeks to extend the duration of the statutory repose period for all claims involving the Washington Bridge, from the current ten (10) year period from the date of substantial completion to 10 years from the date of discovery. Passage of this bill would significantly enlarge the time period within which a claim may be brought by a potential litigant, causing a significant increase in insurance costs and project costs for public and private projects.

The purpose of the statute of repose is to encourage prompt litigation and adjudication of claims. By compelling a person to exercise their right to seek compensation for damages allegedly caused by a contractor or design professional, various issues are avoided, such as defective memories, lost records, unavailability of witnesses, and possible fraudulent claims. By enlarging the time period within which a claim can be brought (here from 10 years to close to 20 years), these issues/challenges would be significantly exacerbated.”

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

https://legiscan.com/RI/text/H8318/2024

That seems insane. Maybe my ability to read is broken but it sounds like the current status is 10 years from substantial completion and the proposal is to make it an infinite time until someone notices a defect and then, after noticing the defect, they have 10 years.

I can foresee the insurance industry refusing to cover any civil engineering projects or civil engineers working in or for Rhode Island starting as soon as this passes.

I predict that there will be a flurry of calls and visits to the state government representatives by construction and insurance industry lobbyists to encourage an understanding of what would happen.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

Contractors and engineers are already balking at pursuing the bridge replacement due to the current spotlight and scrutiny. Now the lawmakers think it's a good idea to increase the risk to take on the job. This will only cost the taxpayers more for the increased risk and insurance premiums.

RE: I-195 Bridge Closure, R.I.

To Decrease the risk, fund better owners supervision (RI DOT) and then periodically audit to make sure the supervision is effective. Trying to do this on the cheap gets very expensive.

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