Thursday, August 02, 2007

Safe bridges

My condolences to the families and friends of the victims in Minnesota. Sadly, two weeks ago, I wrote the following in "Market of ideas" and many e-friends remember it:
In the real world, bridges should have high enough capacity and they should be robust. If the probability that a bridge collapses under a car exceeded 0.0001% or so, the bridge would be clearly useless.
Nevertheless, statistics happens. There are safer bridges in the world.

The Bridge of Klement Gottwald, the communist murderer-in-chief, that later became known as the Bridge of Self-Murderers or, less poetically, Nuselský Bridge, was tested on November 24th, 1970. Click to zoom in.

The communist party knew that it couldn't collapse during the test. If it did, the whole Czechoslovak military would be eliminated which sounds unlikely. In that case, the verdict would say that the culprit is cement. But cement would protest: "I wasn't there at all!"

This picture unfortunately looks like Penrose stairs.

1 comment:

  1. This is sad but it happens every 10 years or so. There will be memorials and investigations, someone will probably go to jail. None of that of course will heal the hurt of those left to mourn their loved ones. None of that will bring back those who have died.

    The sad truth is we have known about this problem for over 20 years. Every year the Civil Engineers Association goes to Washington and gives a report on the under funding of our infrastructure. Every year they are ignored. This sad event will get their attention for a few weeks but until this becomes to norm (God forbid!) we won't see major improvements to our infrastructure.

    I remember watching the Civil Engineer Assoc about 10 years ago on CSPAN and they predicted this type of event, along with congested roads, flight delays, power outages, etc. Everything they predicted 10 years ago has come to reality. But infrastructure isn't a sexy political topic.

    I'll leave you with three questions... Was this stretch of highway one of the US highways that have been sold to foreign interests? And, if this bridge was in a war zone how long would it take the Army Corp of Engineers to have temporary bridge in its place? How long will the residence of Minneapolis have to wait before they are crossing the river again?

    Again my condolences to the families.