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Re: AP: Wash. State bridge

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TxDOT was - understandably - quite pissed when about 20 years ago the state 
 legislature forced them to begin outsourcing some or even most of their 
engineering. Reasonable minds can certainly disagree on the wisdom of that. 
 And it was, again, more about politics than the stated aim of providing 
services through the free market. That was kind of silly anyway, since they 
 made sure that the State wasn't allowed to select consultants based on 
price.

Crony capitalism yet again.

Anyway, TxDOT "retaliated" somewhat by constantly hounding consultants, 
many of whom had little prior experience with transportation facilities 
design, such that any problems in construction or facility function brought 
 out the flogs.

Meanwhile, a former TxDOT engineer I worked with later stated that some of 
the same problems we were constantly on guard concerning, were regular 
"features" of TxDOT-designed projects.

"They just call it a maintenance issue, and nothing else is said," she 
explained.

Too bad this bridge is so old. It would be convenient if there were a 
private consultant available to put in the stocks in the town square.

William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.

5

On May 27, 2013, at 10:01 AM, Harold Sprague <spraguehope(--nospam--at)hotmail.com> 
wrote:

> The NTSB is being polite in how they present this, but this was a problem
> with stupid.  This problem did not have to happen.  The driver had the
> appropriate permits issued by the State of Washington, and the driver's
> permit listed the load height at 15'-9".  The driver was conscientious 
> and even measured his load height while he was underway.  The bridge 
> clearance was 14'-5".  The bridge had been hit before by high loads. 
> Washington regulations only require posting the height limits on a bridge 
> if they are less than 14'-4".
> 
> The driver's permit stated "Does Not Guarantee Height Clearance."
> 
> The state cannot afford about a dollars worth of paint or a $10 sign, and
> now it is going to cost $15 million to replace the bridge.  And the 
> Federal government is going to provide $1 million in emergency aid.
> 
> We have Google Earth and posting height and load limits is a key stroke
> away for any DOT to use.  If they have time to inspect a bridge, pulling 
> up Google Earth and posting the height limits is not that difficult.
> 
> This is one of those problems that did not have to happen.  But as long 

Truncated 774 characters in the previous message to save energy.

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