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RE: AP: Wash. State bridge

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Agreed.  None should drive an over height/size anything onto a bridge 
(without supervision), however, Joe public is not unreasonable asking why 
the bridge was designed in, what is effectively, a fragile condition.  From 
 this point in time, the answer is almost rhetorical and the real question 
is, maybe, are we doing anything about it.

Many ages ago, I was reminded by a peer that, (engineers) are remembered, 
not for finding problems but for solving them ...

Bridges are not the only items that suffer from this ailment when you 
consider that a lot of pre-computer era structures were conceived and 
designed with only the power of, eg, the slide rule.  I can't help 
remarking that these issues only really come to light when there is a 
failure, especially if there is also a body count.

So I wonder if the (bridge) rating system is failing to include the 
(potential) impact of fracture-critical (and other?) conditions ... another 
 example of low probability but high impact ...?   But maybe that's a 
political issue.

Anyway this event again highlights our aging infrastructure calling for 
some TLC or update ...

Back to Hassan's query ... questions answered truthfully (verifiable by a 
3rd party?) but without excessive information are the best.  In this case, 
I tend to think that, unless one is involved in the direct investigation 
and part of the conclusions, one should probably ensure, and state, that 
the answers given are (for the moment) opinion/surmising only ...

An aside ... there is an interesting article in this month's IStructE "The 
Structural Engineer" called, "the 30 year failure cycle".  Haven't read it 
all but it's a bit like we all go through periods when certain events seem 
to occur in batches, like sicknesses, deaths etc.  It's not surprising that 
 30 years seems a likely cycle for infrastructure woes ... like sunspots 
maybe :)

Thor A. Tandy P.Eng, C.Eng, Struct.Eng, MIStructE, FEC
Victoria, BC
Email: vicpeng(--nospam--at)
Please consider the environment before printing out this e-mail

-----Original Message-----
From: seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at) [mailto:seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at)] On 
Behalf Of nma Sent: May-26-13 12:03 PM
To: seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: [SEAINT-SEAOSC] AP: Wash. State bridge


No matter what people are saying about the infrastructure, no one should 
drive an over height truck on a bridge.  The ASCE has been giving various 
portions of the American infrastructure bad grades for years - but 
unfortunately the present national programs are directed to "Social" 
injustices remedies.


On 5/26/2013 11:13 AM, Abolhassan Astaneh wrote:
> Friends at SEAINT,
> I like to have a discussion on this forum on how we should reply to
> requests for interview.  Please note that we as a faculty of public
> universities have to answer to reporters if their questions are in our
> area of expertise and we have information that we believe is correct
> on the very subject of their questions, especially when the question
> is directly related to public safety as this case was.  I do not have
> the luxury of  private sector employees who have the  right to reject

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