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RE: Rationale for Sprinklers on Steel Bridges

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I’m not even sure any fireproofing or fire suppression system could have overcome 8600 gallons of burning gasoline anyway.  A system capable of that would have to cost a ton of money for a very rare occurrence.  Vehicle fires occur on overpasses all the time and do not bring down the span.  This was an anomaly.


From: Fred Turner [mailto:turner(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2007 8:48 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Rationale for Sprinklers on Steel Bridges


Since no one died in the MacArthur Maze Fire it doesn't seem appropriate to rationalize the need for sprinklers on bridges on the basis that building codes require sprinklers in buildings to meet a life safety performance objective at this juncture. The more salient issue is that choke points exist in our transportation systems that, if disrupted, will cause widespread economic losses. Attention to enhancing redundancy and reliability of these systems is needed. Fire protection systems may not provide the best approach to manage this type of risk. The San Francisco Bay Area is fortunate that redundancy in the form of alternative routes already exist in the freeway system around the MacArthur Maze damage. We may not be so fortunate after future incidents. 



Fred Turner, Staff Structural Engineer, California Seismic Safety Commission, a public policy advisory agency, Turner(--nospam--at), 1755 Creekside Oaks Dr. #100 Sacramento, CA 95833 Phone: 916-263-5506 Ext. 227 or 916-263-0582 Fax: 916-263-0594