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New Bay Bridge -expansion Joint Fire

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an expansion joint in the new Bay Bridge caught fire apparently because of
debris accumulated in the expansion joint or the sealant being flammable.
Has anyone heard of fire in the bridge expansion joints?  The speculation
is a cigarette butt  might have started it but I have not heard of this
before.  It is not clear why so much debris is allowed to enter expansion
joint and collect there. It looks that may be the rubber sealant used in
expansion joint was too flammable. If this is the expansion joint at the
west end of the Self Anchored span it has a very strange history. When the
self anchored bridge deck was lifted from the temporary support and the
gravity was transferred to the new bridge the tower bent toward east and
this expansion joint on the west end developed 3 to 5 inches of step. They
had to bend the tower back to make it plumb but still several inches of
step remained. If the fire was in this expansion joint it could be related
to what they did to eliminate the several inches of step in the roadway.
All of these problems could be avoided if designers had noticed that if you
remove temporary support of a girder the gravity load will cause deflection
and the deflection had to be compensated for by cambering the deck upward
and building the tower leaning westward so later it becomes plumb. This is
always done in all cable supported bridges but not this one.

The story is here:



 Abolhassan ASTANEH-ASL, Ph.D., P.E., Professor
2013 Minner Faculty Fellow in Engineering Ethics and Social/Professional
 Responsibility and
2013-14 U.S. Fulbright Senior Research Scholar
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
781 Davis Hall,  MC 1710
University of California,
Berkeley,  CA 94720-1710, USA
Phone; (510) 642-4528

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