Thursday, August 02, 2007

Minneapolis Mahem

Film from a security camera captured the collapse of the I-35W bridge across the Mississippi River

Boy what a mess! I am a structural engineer of sorts and my unqualified opinion on the bridge collapse is due to weak construction, salt erosion of steel structure from 40 years of rugged Minnesota winters being pressed upon by even more weight being added from construction applying a layer of roadbed on top of a flimsy bridge.

As you can see the 458 foot span gave out at the end points where the most gravitational stress would be concentrated causing it to fold up like a cheap suit.

Minnesota winter create a need for salt spreading on the roadways which prevents ice formation down to approximately 20 degrees. The salt seeps into the cracks and joints of bridges through capillary action causing the steel to separate(flake) and freeze in real cold weather further expanding the metal connections.

The running joke in MN is there are two seasons, winter and road construction. Of course now it is no joke.


DEN said...

Jeanne, I'm glad you are OK and well away from the mess.

That is a busy freeway any time of the day.

DEN said...

Noam Chomsky:

"The fact of the matter is that there is no War on Terror. It's a minor consideration. So invading Iraq and taking control of the world's energy resources was way more important than the threat of terror. And the same with other things. Take, say, nuclear terror. The American intelligence systems estimate that the likelihood of a "dirty bomb," a dirty nuclear bomb attack in the United States in the next ten years, is about 50 percent. Well, that's pretty high. Are they doing anything about it? Yeah. They're increasing the threat, by increasing nuclear proliferation, by compelling potential adversaries to take very dangerous measures to try to counter rising American threats."


carey said...

Oh good, you heard from Jeanne. I'll go see.


Immediate thoughts to your children Den, wasn't sure exactly where they were. And, of course, Jeanne and family.

What a freakin nightmare. So many engineers have written about how the nation's infrastructure is aging. That was a while ago too.

Pertaining to Chomsky's quote, again, Armed Madhouse puts so much of it in perspective. Geez I'm loving the book.

Brandon is playing "Captain Hook" tomorrow. I'm a stage mom.

carey said...

Engaging discussion on Blackwater yesterday.

Here's my take: A gut instinct Blackwater's up to it's neck in very dirty mud. We have no idea.

Alan, your explanations are rational and informed, by the book. Guess what, that doesn't matter anymore. Anything like common sense and rule of law is out the window.

Something is up with Blackwater.

My point about Rhodes going off the deep end with the caller was purely about protocol. She does go off at times in an irrational, almost hysterical manner. She seems not to take into account telephone protocol. She's puts the caller at a very high disadvantage. That's not fair play and it's a character flaw.

carey said...


You're at it again, you sneaky little leprechaun.

Bootboy is looking for a dance partner.

Try the Broken Spoke.

You must keep your family in stitches.

8/01/2007 5:42 PM

David B. Benson said...

As I read the story regarding AF 2 and Blackwater, the blackwaterers were additional guards at the perimeter of the Nation Guard AF base.

The only evidence presented was that these guards were dressed entirely in black.

More interesting question is wtf AF 2 was doing at that base in New Hampshire? And no announcement from the WH that Cheney had left that day...

DEN said...

Getting gassed up? Hic!

David B. Benson said...

Actually, the organization is called the Air National Guard.

micki said...

Tim Strawn dressed all in black, too.


micki said...

What a mess in MSP.

...will probably see more infrastructure fiascos soon in a city near you.

Thanks for the report, Jeanne!

David B. Benson said...

In 2005, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issued a Reoprt Card on America. This indicated the poor state of the nation's bridges, roads, dams, etc.

Of course, nothing has been done.


Steam pipe in NYC.

And now this bridge...

Alan said...

No Cooler for the Scooter


micki said...

I'd have to find the report, but I recall reading several years ago that (I think) ASCE said there were over 2,000 unsafe dams in the United States -- unsafe to the point of possible failure.

Roll on Columbia, roll on.....

Alan said...

Yeah Dr. B, there's a diary on that subject at DailyKos. It includes damns and drinking water among other things. Over a $-trillion needed in infastructure improvements.

DEN said...

Off topic a bit, Bill "The Bloody" Kristol, Neo-con or nose miner?

Alan said...

You're right again Micki. It's their report from 2005.

Report Card for America's Infrastructure

David B. Benson said...

My report card for keying on this blog must read D.


Another transpostion error.

And I always preview.

Must be getting old...

micki said...

Broken: everything from our roads to our Constitution.

Too bad the decay of our bridges, roads, pipework, water supply, etc. isn't considered a "homeland security" threat.

David B. Benson said...

Who is Tim Strawn?

DEN said...

Speaking of infrastructure, the BIG ONE is coming and soon on the West Coast, a lot of activity in Nevada where there was none before, ground is moving.

Who will be picking up those financial pieces with all the money being thrown at the stupid war?

USGS site

micki said...

Here in Washington State many people rely on the Washington State Ferry system for commuting to work, leisure, island hopping, medical appointments in the Big City, etc.

The Klickitat, Quinault, Illahee and Nisqually ferries were launched in 1927, the year Lindbergh made his flight across the Atlantic. These ferries are still in use.

Their first job was to carry passengers, Model-Ts and horse-drawn carriages across San Francisco waterways. In the 1930s when the Golden Gate Bridge and other Bay Area bridges opened, they became surplus.

Those ferries have been plowing through Puget Sound ever since -- but they are beginning to spring leaks on a fairly regular basis.

One day there will be a preventable catastrophe...but WTF. Shit happens.

carey said...

We are a nation that disregards education enough to put our people in harm's way. The inspectors for the bridge, I just heard, do not need to be professional engineers.

Ay, ay, David!

Your suspicions, Dr. B, of Blackwater are well deserved. Remember gang, we're dealing with guys who grew up on stupid cartoons and seem to be singularly influenced by them.

I've been hinting at radical predictions of Blackwater's likely actions. I have no specific evidence--I'm not in a research mode at all. I recall random scenarios painted throughout stuff I read.

The subject of the day is our aging national infrastructure. That should have been a subject three decades ago. Instead, we stage all kinds of fake wars and threats.

Still, my gut says Blackwater is very, very serious trouble, more threatening and embedded than any group ever before.

micki said...

I figured someone would ask.

Tim Strawn is Kid Sheleen's evil twin.

(Not sure of that spelling...Sheleen.)

If that info doesn't help clear things up, HINT: from a movie.

micki said...

Oy! Alan, it's worse than I recalled!

Thanks for the link to the Report Card.

micki said...

Then there's the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle that all the powers-that-be are fighting about.

The AWV is a really, really decripit raised "freeway" stretch that was damaged in the last fairly sizeable earthquake.

It's going to shake, rattle, and wobble to its death soon.

David B. Benson said...

William Polk
Violent Politics

Short review on Juan Cole's Informed Comment

micki said...

Dr. B, William Polk's plan doesn't take into consideration one importnat "reality."

bush and his enablers have no intention of leaving Iraq.

Other than that, his plan with the help of George McGovern makes a lot of sense. (To me.)

carey said...

Dr. B,

Just read the William Polk piece on Juan Cole's site.

Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast made it so simple for me. Once they get their oil law passed which was postponed by the Iraqi parliament until after summer, BIG OIL will have their control of Iraq's oil in place. That's the victory everyone speaks of but won't actually specify. The goal is to quash Iraqi oil production, in line with OPEC's need to control prices.

All this strategic talk of what our nation's positon will be upon withdrawal is wrapped up in what BIG OIL wants. They, Cheney and above all, James Baker run the show. Behind them, historically, Britain's and the U.S.' big oil guns.

Boy, oh boy is Baker in deep, icky doo-doo. I don't mean trouble, I mean his hands are likely muckier than the rest.

David B. Benson said...

Maybe so.

Doesn't change my position.

For whatever that is worth.


Gerald said...

The Mind of a Nazi

Dear Posters:

As you know, I am a recovering Republican or in some cases I am a recovering Nazi. I am not proud of my past but when a person is recovering from addictions and/or other demons, it is best to admit the problem and remove denial from your mind and person.

Being a recovering Nazi left me with many nights that I had to overcome my nightmares. There were many, many times that I would awake in a cold sweat and in some cases I would awake through the noises of my screams. I beg and plead with any human being who reads this post to please never ever become a Nazi.

Minneapolis had a bridge collapse. I can share with you what the Nazi minds are thinking. How can we benefit from this tragedy? Do we play the political card and gain political points? To help these suffering people in Minnesota would be nice but of no political gain! The card that will be played is to give more tax cuts and shelters to the decadent and filthy rich. We will sell these tax breaks in a way to make these people believe that tax cuts would help to generate the economy and this generating of the economy will help rebuild the bridge in Minneapolis. Building and rebuilding the American infrastructure is expensive. IT IS BETTER TO START WARS SO THE DEFENSE COMPANIES CAN GAIN PROFITS THROUGH THE PAIN AND SUFFERING OF PEOPLE. Wars bring glory to the minds of Nazis. Let us now start to bomb and start wars with Iran and Pakistan. Wars are actually cheaper than building and rebuilding America. As the Nazi financial people will say, wars are profitable for the American economy. My fellow posters, please expect more wars in Nazi America’s future!!!!!

Please patriotic Americans do not fall for these Nazi lies!!! The decadent and the filthy rich will only hoard their money to gain more wealth.

In the mind of a Nazi they benefit through people’s suffering. Here is an example! We will put a health care company on the stock market to generate profits with no health care for average and poor Americans.

Please, please believe me when I say that if you follow Nazi stinking thinking you will be destroyed!!!!!


carey said...


When I first heard the news last night, after thinking of Den and Jeanne, I thought exactly that. I betcha those assholes at Halliburton et al are thinking.....

How can we benefit from this tragedy?

I enjoyed your letter. Strong and forceful.

micki said...

William Polk's plan doesn't take into consideration one importnat "reality."

I need a proofreader!


Is that an imported dipteran fly? ;-)

micki said...

I heard a very brief segment on Thom Hartmann this a.m.

His guest was using the MSP bridge collapse as an example of why roads and bridges should be privatized.

mcki said...


DEN said...

Micki, Carey asked me to post the link for the Daily Show

I could not post links for each vid due to Flashplayer limitations but look for the ones on this page 08/01/07.

Gerald said...

Carey, thank you for your comment!

Micki, we have to be very careful about privtizing our country away in many areas. We are a nation with many corrupt, rotten, and evil people who would drain every earned and saved dollar from us. Our Nazi American corporations are draining third world countries and their people to receive drinking water. These people are charged 25 cents on a dollar for water. Most of these people will earn no more than one dollar per day. Tom Delay looks to the Mariana Islands for the model for Americans. We are to work 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week for $365 per year as our salary. Privatizing our country would enslave Americans. That is the goal of all the Nazis in power positions that are here in Nazi America.

Jeanne said...

As you know, I live in MPLS. You don't know how heart wrenching it is to hear the bridge you cross all the time has collapsed. Everybody uses that bridge. And everybody thought "Who was on it? Who did I lose?" You frantically call and you hope you get an answer. My son knew somebody who was on the bridge and walked away with broken ribs. My daughter's boyfriend was on the way to the airport. We didn't hear from him until 1 pm today. He didn't know we were worried about him. My daughter could have killed him.

And to have Bush put a jab in on the Democrats during his speech... He's a chip off the old block, (Barbara). We have a failing infastracture in this country. Infastracture is necessary to survive as a nation and what are we spending our money on? A war that's putting money into the pockets of people like Cheney. How's that for a jab.

•c•arol said...

Well, the bridge collapse got America's attention. Lots of talk on CNN about our infrastructure and how "they" never spend any money on it.

Will it change anything? :(

Jeanne, I'm happy you and your family weren't on that bridge. Phew. That said I thought about the Six Degrees of Separation theory. The airliner that crashed on take-off at Detroit Metro in 1987 and killed everyone but a baby, well, I didn't know anyone on it brother-in-law's cousin was on board! See? I'm linked to that doomed flight by my brother-in-law's cousin! (I love this shit!)

You're linked thru your son to THIS accident. Let us know if you end up being linked to anyone else.

micki said...

Macabre though it is, Carol, to dwell on this we knew a couple from Alaska who were on-board the Pan Am 747 that collided with the KLM 747 in the Canary Islands -- I think it remains the biggest aviation disaster with over 580 people killed. (1977)

•c•arol said...

Micki, but what about the Detroit Metro 1987 disaster? Any way you're linked to that crash?

•c•arol said...

There was a passenger jet that crashed just outside New York (in the ocean) several years back. They thought there might have been a terrorist on it. Turns out Bob knew someone on that and now that I tell you, you're ALL connected to that crash.

When Bob was a teenager he got a job in the drug store at the end of his block. He was a soda jerk, among other things. That must have been 1953/1954. The retired pharmacist that owned that drug store died on that plane. He and his wife of a gazillion years were on their way to someplace.

micki said...

Back in the 1950s my parents were going to Hawaii. They missed the flight. The plane had a water ditching in Puget Sound. My mother forgave my father for being late.