Airstud
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I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 5:32 am

OK. Typing this, as I do, right the heck in downtown Minneapolis, a city still palpably shaken by the I-35W collapse five years ago, I am a little fed up with bridges in this country collapsing. At least this event so far appears to be gloriously fatality-free.

I am an enthusiastic consumer of the services afforded by our interstate highway system and I don't want to start traveling less due to compromised confidence in the system's physical safety.   
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ozglobal
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 6:29 am

Glad noone was killed this time... Last time I heard there were 10s of 1000s of bridges in the US at risk structurally. This is what happens when you convince the electorate that public infrastructure investment is a socialist plot...
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 6:46 am

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 1):
This is what happens when you convince the electorate that public infrastructure investment is a socialist plot...

Thankfully nobody here jumps to conclusions. Wouldn't it be embarrassing if it turns out that the bridge collapsed because of an oversized or overweight load, or something like that?

Quote:
The bridge is not considered structurally deficient but is listed as being "functionally obsolete" - a category meaning that their design is outdated, such as having narrow shoulders are low clearance underneath, according to a database compiled by the Federal Highway Administration.
Forget dogs and cats - Spay and neuter your liberals.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 6:46 am

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 1):
This is what happens when you convince the electorate that public infrastructure investment is a socialist plot.

Reports are that an oversized Stalinist truck had rammed the bridge shortly before its collapse, reminiscent of Chairman Mao's march across China, as the truck's driver was distracted while listening to an audiobook of Mein Kampf and tweeting with Mussolini!

I-5 bridge collapses over Skagit River near Mount Vernon; cars in river

Reports are that Castro has offered the offending driver immunity if he can procure transportation to Cuba. Airports have been alerted to lay on extra security measures.
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oldeuropean
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 7:28 am

This came as no real suprise. It's the desolate infrastructure in the US.

Fewer wars and the US would have the money to replace all these faulty bridges and other constructions. There are "developing countries" which have a better infrastructure than many states in the US.  

[Edited 2013-05-24 00:32:41]
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trav110
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 7:47 am

Hardly surprising. You guys have lots of bridges in pretty bad shape. I you'd spent just a quarter of what you have spent on defense for the past 10 years, this wouldn't have happened. You get what you pay for.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 2):
Thankfully nobody here jumps to conclusions. Wouldn't it be embarrassing if it turns out that the bridge collapsed because of an oversized or overweight load, or something like that?

One overweight truck isn't going to immediately cause a bridge to collapse. It will cause fatigue and cracking that builds and builds over the life of the bridge (many of which are 50 or 60 years old) until it can no longer hold the weight that it was designed for and collapses.

[Edited 2013-05-24 00:49:52]
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 8:31 am

Quoting trav110 (Reply 5):
One overweight truck isn't going to immediately cause a bridge to collapse.

It can if the truck or its load rams into a key structural member with enough force. It's a truss frame bridge. Take out the right piece and you compromise the whole thing.

I'm not saying that that is definitely what happened. We don't know yet. What I am saying is that we know a few facts:

1) The bridge was NOT considered structurally deficient - which means, oldeuropean, that if all of the money in the world were available they would not have replaced it. The bridge was considered obsolete in terms of modern height/width standards, but structurally OK.

2) They are talking to the driver of a specific truck and zeroed in on him very fast.

So instead of trying to make political statements (which have little basis in fact to begin with), how about waiting for a bit more info.
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flyingturtle
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 8:37 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 3):

If the passengers could elect the aircrew, you'd be my choice for Captain. 
Quoting trav110 (Reply 5):
One overweight truck isn't going to immediately cause a bridge to collapse. It will cause fatigue and cracking that builds and builds over the life of the bridge (many of which are 50 or 60 years old) until it can no longer hold the weight that it was designed for and collapses.

  

At least 95% of all the bridges here were built when we still had a truck weight limit of less than 28 tons. Now, 40 ton trucks are travelling on our roads by the thousands, and... nothing has collapsed. Good engineering, surveillance and maintenance.

Nevermind that bridges are, after construction, actually tested by using massively overweight trucks to measure the tension that is build up in the bridge.


David
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MD11Engineer
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 12:42 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 7):
At least 95% of all the bridges here were built when we still had a truck weight limit of less than 28 tons. Now, 40 ton trucks are travelling on our roads by the thousands, and... nothing has collapsed. Good engineering, surveillance and maintenance.

Though lots of expensive maintenance and upgrades involved.

Jan
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Boeing717200
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 2:25 pm

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 1):

That's not the problem. The problem is spending billions of fuel taxes that were once 100% earmarked for roads on the subsidization of mass transit, or wasteful regions like the Bay Area of California spending billions more on projects like the Bay Bridge because they don't know how to properly manage a project.

Thank God nobody was killed.

[Edited 2013-05-24 07:27:15]
 
AeroWesty
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 2:49 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 9):
The problem is spending billions of fuel taxes that were once 100% earmarked for roads on the subsidization of mass transit

Federal fuel taxes have always been a slush fund of sorts, even being used to finance the defense budget in the 1940s. There are separate budgets financed from federal fuel taxes, one is the Highway Account, another is the Mass Transit Account. How much of the Highway Account is being plundered for the Mass Transit Account?
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L-188
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 3:52 pm

Glad to see nobody jumped to the conclusion it was structural failure due to age.

There is currently at least one witness to a tractor trailer with an oversized load striking the bridge immediately prior to the failure.
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steex
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 3:53 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 9):
The problem is spending billions of fuel taxes that were once 100% earmarked for roads on the subsidization of mass transit,

I would argue that mass transit isn't necessarily an inappropriate use of this funding - we need to view our transportation network as just that, a network. The bigger issue is sensible use of the dollars in general, which is often lacking. In major cities with high transit ridership, dollars spent on transit are dollars not being spent to upgrade and rebuild highways that would otherwise have to carry the load.

The problem comes when we are paying big money for ineffective systems, but this is hardly unique to transit - we also spend big money inefficiently designing highways, airports, and other transportation infrastructure.
 
Geezer
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 4:45 pm

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 1):
Last time I heard there were 10s of 1000s of bridges in the US at risk structurally. This is what happens when you convince the electorate that public infrastructure investment is a socialist plot...
Quoting oldeuropean (Reply 4):
This came as no real suprise. It's the desolate infrastructure in the US.
Quoting trav110 (Reply 5):
Hardly surprising. You guys have lots of bridges in pretty bad shape. I you'd spent just a quarter of what you have spent on defense for the past 10 years, this wouldn't have happened.

Another typical day in the U.S. ................I read all of the above yesterday, and didn't comment; ( why try to comment on anything, when you have no idea what you're talking about ? ) After all, I haven't had an occasion to cross that bridge for over 20 years now, so I didn't spend much time even worrying about it until I knew a little more about what happened to cause an Interstate highway bridge to collapse; ( which, IMO, would be a good idea for everyone to do )

Now today, after getting up late, (because of going to bed late), I see this article in the good old Chicago tribune, ( which is located about 2,000 miles east of the collapsed bridge ), and I now know slightly more than I did yesterday, and thereby being in a slightly better position to "speculate" as to what may have caused the bridge to go down.

Unfortunately, there are always going to be a few people who seem to frequently "talk about things" before they bother to get any information about what it is they're trying to talk about, ( which of course, is their "privilege", inasmuch as this is a public, international forum )

I have often asked myself, why so many people seem to be so prone to doing this; could it possible be that they "have something against" the U.S. ? If that's the case, I wonder what it could be ? ( I have no idea, but I DO have a better idea TODAY than I had YESTERDAY, why people crossing the I-5 bridge suddenly found themselves swimming in very cold water, rather than driving in their nice warm cars.) In case anyone is really concerned as to why the bridge collapsed, the provided link may enlighten you.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 10):
Federal fuel taxes have always been a slush fund of sorts, even being used to finance the defense budget in the 1940s. There are separate budgets financed from federal fuel taxes, one is the Highway Account, another is the Mass Transit Account. How much of the Highway Account is being plundered for the Mass Transit Account?

Imagine that ! We finally seem to be "wondering" the same thing ! Congratulations !

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 9):
That's not the problem. The problem is spending billions of fuel taxes that were once 100% earmarked for roads on the subsidization of mass transit, or wasteful regions like the Bay Area of California spending billions more on projects like the Bay Bridge because they don't know how to properly manage a project.

Now someone is REALLY getting to the heart of the on-going problem ! I completely agree with this reply !


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...-collapse-20130524,0,7787369.story

Take a few moments to read this article, and you too will know more about why the I-5 bridge collapsed.

Charley ( AKA......"Old American" )
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
Ken777
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 5:28 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 2):
Wouldn't it be embarrassing if it turns out that the bridge collapsed because of an oversized or overweight load, or something like that?
Quote:

The tractor-trailer, which was marked as an oversize load, was hauling a housing for drilling equipment
http://mynorthwest.com/11/2281167/I5...er-near-Mount-Vernon-cars-in-river

This will be interesting. Another oil industry company with lax safety standards? At least the oil industry has enough money to get the entire bridge rebuilt. :I

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 6):
It can if the truck or its load rams into a key structural member with enough force.

Especially since the bridge is nearing 60 years of use. Maybe we need to determine if the truck should not have used that bridge. We need to know the degree of blame to be put on the truck and the degree to be put on the condition of the bridge.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 8):
Though lots of expensive maintenance and upgrades involved.

Our politicians could care less about maintenance and upgrades. You don't get your picture in the paper for road or bridge maintenance, but you do when cutting a ribbon on a new road.

Politicians also know their voters have a short (or limited) memory of how many Americans die from infrastructure failures. The 13 deaths when a bridge fell in Minnesota in 2007? People don't remember that and if they do then the politician can quickly switch the top. Maybe to abortion or prayers in schools. Something that doesn't cost money.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 13):
could it possible be that they "have something against" the U.S. ?

Well, Charlie, I believe a lot of international comments comes from people who have actually visited (or lived in) the US for a while and have a basis for comparison. I have also found when I have been overseas that a lot of people in other countries know far more about the US than we know about them. The better the ability to use experience to compare, the more critical one can honestly be in commenting.

I know when we lived in Australia that I had a lot of time to compare differences, with each country coming out on top about the same amount of times.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 13):
We finally seem to be "wondering" the same thing !

I generally don't wonder about that shifting money around between highways and mass transit. First I understand that mass transit is critical for the NorthEast. Trains, buses and subways move far more people in that area than we can build roads & bridges to accommodate. Shut down a major part of commuting via mass transit into New York CIty and you can have a regional (if not national) impact..

I also know that politicians play games with all "Funds". They are incapable of any level of honesty when it comes to Funds - and that is both sides of the aisle. Republican & Democrats loose their integrity when it comes to Green.

And, let's be honest, inflation is something that no politician worries about if it means increasing taxes. I can remember Reagan bringing a 5¢ a gallon tax to increase maintenance of Interstate highways. That 5¢ sure doesn't buy anything close to the maintenance that it did when Reagan was in office. But has it ben increased to keep up with inflation?
 
bhill
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 5:42 pm

Here's the kicker...The State Patrol is reporting it was a CANADIAN truck and trucker that trashed one of my state's MAJOR highways!!

Must have been a metric conversion issue...over height AND width.
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ER757
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 5:45 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 14):
This will be interesting. Another oil industry company with lax safety standards? At least the oil industry has enough money to get the entire bridge rebuilt. :I
Quoting bhill (Reply 15):
Here's the kicker...The State Patrol is reporting it was a CANADIAN truck and trucker that trashed one of my state's MAJOR highways!!

Must have been a metric conversion issue...over height AND width.

Saw a report this morning and the owner of the truck company says they not only got permits from WSDOT for taking this specific load on that route but also had a pilot car! Now go figure.........
 
bhill
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 5:54 pm

I would like to see that permit...however, the ultimate responsibility relies with the person behind the wheel, I have been over that bridge MANY times, it is VERY well marked.
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ER757
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 6:33 pm

Quoting bhill (Reply 17):
I would like to see that permit...however, the ultimate responsibility relies with the person behind the wheel, I have been over that bridge MANY times, it is VERY well marked.

As a person who knows a thing or two about oversized loads (I've set up several thousand in my career) I am thinking something is not quite right here. Any time you want to move an over-dimensional or overweight load you need to contact the dept of transportation in every state you'll travel through. Depending on the size of the load, they may need to do a route survey which checks for clerances and weight limits on all bridges and overpasses. They may come back to you with a route that takes you on alternate roads to avoid low clearances etc. So I think one of the following scenarios took place:
Washington DOT has inaccurate info on file for that bridge (unlikely IMO)
Surveyor mis-read or neglected to check that info (again not likely but not impossible)
shipper provided inaccurate dimensions of the load to trucker
trucker did not verify dimensions once equipment waas secured on the truck
driver did not center the load on the road when approaching the bridge (most bridge clearances are higher in the center than on the sides)

Now the next question I'd have is that since the truck was able to continue over the bridge after impacting it, was the force of the impact enough to have brought down a structually sound bridge? I am sure the NTSB will be asking all of these questions in the course of their investigation.
 
steex
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 7:13 pm

Quoting ER757 (Reply 18):
driver did not center the load on the road when approaching the bridge (most bridge clearances are higher in the center than on the sides)

Based on the limited information available at this time, primarily the eyewitness account of the trailing pickup driver, this was my impression. However, I actually read the descriptions to indicate that the truck struck not the top of the bridge structure, but rather the driver failing to center the load resulted in the load overhanging the right side of the roadway and striking the first vertical member on the side of the bridge. According to the eyewitness (who did fall into the water), he tried to fall back because he could see that the oversized load was too far to the right to avoid hitting the bridge, but another semi pulled ahead on the left and may have prevented the oversized load from centering.

I do acknowledge, of course, that this is all highly speculative since we don't yet know much.

EDIT: Reading further, it appears that it is a case of the truck hitting the top chord of the truss in the top right corner of the load due to failure to center the load under the truss structure.

Quoting ER757 (Reply 18):
Now the next question I'd have is that since the truck was able to continue over the bridge after impacting it, was the force of the impact enough to have brought down a structually sound bridge?

The bridge in question has multiple spans, with four truss spans over the river. The northernmost span is the one which collapsed, and it is only about 160-165 feet long. Assuming the truck was traveling at least 65 MPH, I wouldn't be surprised if an impact into a vertical truss member shifted the load such that the truck continued moving and it cleared the impacted span before the shifting of stress in the bridge could cause it to fall.

In general, it is entirely possible for the removal (or severe damage) of one critical loadbearing member from a truss bridge to cause its collapse. However, I do not know nearly enough about the bridge in question, its condition, or the collision to know if that's what happened in this scenario.

[Edited 2013-05-24 12:33:49]
 
Geezer
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 7:16 pm

Quoting ER757 (Reply 16):
Saw a report this morning and the owner of the truck company says they not only got permits from WSDOT for taking this specific load on that route but also had a pilot car! Now go figure.........

Excuse me........have you ever obtained an oversized load permit from a state, in order to move an over-size, over-weight load ? I HAVE; many times; allow me to "explain" a bit about over-size load permits, and the way they "work";

First, you tell the state EXACTLY what the "load" you intend to move weighs, it's EXACT weight, width, length, AND, if it's possible to be "disassembled" in order to be moved in smaller "pieces"; only after careful review o6f the information you provide, the state then tells YOU, (right on the permit), EXACTLY what route you will use, what time you will execute said move, and any other things you WILL need to provide (or pay for the state to provide, (such as a police escort, utility workers to cut power to transformers, etc etc etc)

After all of this.........if you deviate from ANY of the requirements set forth in said permit, it becomes invalid, and YOU will very quickly in more "hot water" than would be necessary for several years worth of nice hot showers !
( "been there, did that".......many times, as they say.)

So we won't need to be worrying too much about "did the truck owner have proper insurance", or "was the truck driver lost" ? ( it doesn't work that way with permit loads )

And last but most important of all.........NO permit gives any truck or driver the authorization or permission to physically "run INTO anything"........least of all, support structures which hold bridges up.

My best guess, based on prior, first hand experience is........we will now be seeing someone's insurance carrier PAYING for a new bridge; ( which always cost TONS of money to build, and months and years of inconvenience and snarled traffic to cope with by local citizens. )

Everything, and I DO mean, everything, which can possibly happen (or "go wrong") is carefully considered, planned for, and then executed in moving permitted loads. There is nothing that can possibly be"torn up" by a truck that hasn't already been "torn up" by a previous truck, and all states are VERY skilled at knowing how to "affix the necessary responsibility" on the "responsible party".
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
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ER757
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 8:51 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 20):
Excuse me........have you ever obtained an oversized load permit from a state, in order to move an over-size, over-weight load ?

Ummm - yeah I have - read my reply #19. I mention pretty much the smae things you have

Quoting bhill (Reply 17):
I would like to see that permit...

Your wish is WSDOT's commeand - there's a link to it here:

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I5/...RiverBridgeReplacement/default.htm
 
rwy04lga
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 9:06 pm

Quoting ER757 (Reply 21):

In that pdf it states 'Route does not guarantee height clearances'. How can they issue the permit if they can't make sure the load will clear obstacles?
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
 
Boeing717200
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 9:30 pm

Quoting steex (Reply 12):
I would argue that mass transit isn't necessarily an inappropriate use of this funding - we need to view our transportation network as just that, a network. The bigger issue is sensible use of the dollars in general, which is often lacking. In major cities with high transit ridership, dollars spent on transit are dollars not being spent to upgrade and rebuild highways that would otherwise have to carry the load.

Mass transit fares collected in the US only account for 21.8% of the costs. The rest of the money comes from fuel taxes and Fed/State/Local government general funds/tax districts. Transit users need to do more to carry their fair share. Yes, highways get a subsidy, but the idea that its even in the same ballpark is absurd.

Comparatively cars are subsidized about 1.1 cents per passenger mile. Mass transit 60 cents per passenger mile

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 10):
How much of the Highway Account is being plundered for the Mass Transit Account?

Last year it was $7 billion just from Federal Fuel Taxes (Net fuel tax revenue was just under $35 Billion). Of course that's only part of the equation because it doesn't take into account what States do with their fuel taxes.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 9:56 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 23):
Last year it was $7 billion just from Federal Fuel Taxes (Net fuel tax revenue was just under $35 Billion).

To make sure I'm understanding this right, you're saying that the $7 billion was diverted from the Highway Account to the Mass Transit Account, over and above what the Mass Transit Account had been authorized by law as its normal allocation?
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steex
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:10 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 23):
Mass transit fares collected in the US only account for 21.8% of the costs. The rest of the money comes from fuel taxes and Fed/State/Local government general funds/tax districts. Transit users need to do more to carry their fair share. Yes, highways get a subsidy, but the idea that its even in the same ballpark is absurd.

Comparatively cars are subsidized about 1.1 cents per passenger mile. Mass transit 60 cents per passenger mile

This doesn't entirely disagree with my point - not every mass transit implementation has the same efficiency, and as I said, I think it's critical to ensure that the dollars are allocated judiciously. However, in a city like Chicago, it will be more effective to allocate some of that funding to mass transit to keep 2.1 million trips off the highway (combined weekday ridership of CTA and Metra) than it will be to remove that funding and try to instead use it to accommodate highway construction to accommodate those trips being made by passenger vehicle instead.
 
Ken777
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:13 pm

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 22):
In that pdf it states 'Route does not guarantee height clearances'.

That sounds like government workers using the CYA Stamp. I wonder if all states are that careful with the Stamp as opposed to actually checking the road & bridge data.

One interesting point:

Quote:

The bridge was inspected twice last year and repairs were made, Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said.

"It's an older bridge that needs a lot of work just like a good number of bridges around the state," she said.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-...n-state-blamed-on-tractor-trailer/

Did those repairs change the clearance on that fallen section in any way? The rest of the bridge seemed to have been able to handle the oversized load without a problem.
 
trav110
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:26 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 13):
I have often asked myself, why so many people seem to be so prone to doing this; could it possible be that they "have something against" the U.S. ?

That is ridiculous. I have spent the vast majority of my life living in the US. What I said was based on personal experience and the state of the roads and bridges, etc. That I experienced firsthand. But go on ahead and assume that any and all suggestion from somebody not born in the US is automatically because I have something against you guys. Right.  
 
Boeing717200
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:31 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 24):
To make sure I'm understanding this right, you're saying that the $7 billion was diverted from the Highway Account to the Mass Transit Account, over and above what the Mass Transit Account had been authorized by law as its normal allocation?

No. I'm saying that before that allocation shift was made - all fuel taxes went to roads. We've been diverting 20% of the fuel tax revenue to mass transit for over two decades. That has amounted to over $100 billion in money that could have been spent on roads being spent on Mass Transit. The point being, you don't rob Peter to pay Paul. Especially if it puts Peter in a position where he doesn't have enough money to start with. Its caused a long term downward spiral on the long term maintenance and construction revenues for roads. Its also created an environment where there is a disconnect between building mass transit just to have it vs. building mass transit that you actually need. The disconnect comes from the fact that 1) users don't pay anywhere near the true cost and 2) the operator doesn't have to concern themselves with ensuring the system is economically viable long term by at least breaking even. Mass transit runs at a net loss, year in and year out in this country. That is not sustainable and eventually people will die because of it.

Quoting steex (Reply 25):
This doesn't entirely disagree with my point - not every mass transit implementation has the same efficiency, and as I said, I think it's critical to ensure that the dollars are allocated judiciously. However, in a city like Chicago, it will be more effective to allocate some of that funding to mass transit to keep 2.1 million trips off the highway (combined weekday ridership of CTA and Metra) than it will be to remove that funding and try to instead use it to accommodate highway construction to accommodate those trips being made by passenger vehicle instead.


So the ride in the city should be subsidized by the Suburbs? How about raising the mass transit fares by about 50% and cover more of the costs so someone else doesn't have to? If a person doesn't own a car, doesn't have to pay for insurance and maintenance on that car and isn't buying gas is a fare increase of a about buck a day going to kill you?

[Edited 2013-05-24 15:40:26]
 
AeroWesty
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:41 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 28):
The point being, you don't rob Peter to pay Paul.

I don't see it as robbing Peter to pay Paul. Back in 1982 the federal fuel tax was raised from 4¢ to 5¢ to allocate 1¢ to pay for mass transit (not sure what it is now). As long as the Highway Fund isn't being robbed to pay for mass transit, with each fund using its funds as intended, we're good to go in my book.
International Homo of Mystery
 
Boeing717200
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:43 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 29):
I don't see it as robbing Peter to pay Paul. Back in 1982 the federal fuel tax was raised from 4¢ to 5¢ to allocate 1¢ to pay for mass transit (not sure what it is now). As long as the Highway Fund isn't being robbed to pay for mass transit, with each fund using its funds as intended, we're good to go in my book.


Except that Peter is the only one buying the gas. Hence taking from Peter to pay Paul causes a perpetual problem for Peter.

[Edited 2013-05-24 15:45:12]
 
AeroWesty
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:45 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 30):
Except that Peter is the only one buying the gas.

Peter's paying to help move Paul out of his way onto more efficient ways to transport people. All good.   
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:50 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 31):
Peter's paying to help move Paul out of his way onto more efficient ways to transport people. All good.

You might be right if that were true. The reality is Paul is riding the least efficient and most expensive form of transportation known to man.

[Edited 2013-05-24 15:50:29]
 
AeroWesty
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:55 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 32):
The reality is Paul is riding the least efficient and most expensive form of transportation known to man.

Difficult to evaluate without more details, such as which form of transportation you're referring to. Put some numbers and examples out there for folks to chew on. We're not psychic!  
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 10:56 pm

Quoting steex (Reply 19):
In general, it is entirely possible for the removal (or severe damage) of one critical loadbearing member from a truss bridge to cause its collapse.

Which strikes me as a problem. The idea that failure of a single structural member would cause complete collapse strikes me as poor design for a structure that has human lives driving across it every day.

As far as I can see, there are two bridges across that river. The other bridge is quite small by comparison. This is going to be a fustercluck of enormous proportions.
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:00 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 33):
Difficult to evaluate without more details, such as which form of transportation you're referring to. Put some numbers and examples out there for folks to chew on. We're not psychic!

You're in Portland. Are you kidding me:

http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=7881
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:01 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 28):
So the ride in the city should be subsidized by the Suburbs? How about raising the mass transit fares by about 50% and cover more of the costs so someone else doesn't have to? If a person doesn't own a car, doesn't have to pay for insurance and maintenance on that car and isn't buying gas is a fare increase of a about buck a day going to kill you?

I gave the specific example of Chicago, where a great deal of the transit ridership as well as highway commuting is done from the suburbs to the City in addition to all of the intra-City transit. In fact, lots of people drive their cars to park-and-ride train stations in the suburbs because the highways are already overcrowded.

If you forced 2.1 million trips off of transit and onto the roadway system, then the City proper would be so clogged that the folks driving in from the suburbs today wouldn't even be able to penetrate the City limits (yes, slight hyperbole), not to mention that the Suburb-to-City roads would be so packed that tremendous highway expansion would be necessary to even get them that far.

So in that scenario, it's exactly as AeroWesty says:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 31):
Peter's paying to help move Paul out of his way onto more efficient ways to transport people. All good.

Keep in mind I'm acknowledging that there are wasteful, inefficient transit systems out there which have turned into albatrosses. Some cost a lot of money to build and never develop the ridership to justify their existence. You can't paint every situation with the same broad brush, and all I'm suggesting is you have to allow for the fact transit is SOMETIMES a more efficient use of funds.

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 32):
You might be right if that were true. The reality is Paul is riding the least efficient form of transportation known to man.

Least efficient from some viewpoints of how funding should be handled - it is one of the MOST efficient in terms of allocation of scarce resources.
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:06 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 35):
You're in Portland. Are you kidding me

Well now now we can see you are clearly unbiased.

I guess stuff like this would have made sense to you?

http://www.vanshnookenraggen.com/_index/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/freeway_revolt.jpg
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:08 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 35):
You're in Portland. Are you kidding me:

I actually voted against the MAX extension to Milwaukie. A couple of times, IIRC. Regardless, just tossing a link out about one project doesn't represent a well thought out argument for or against mass transit as an integral part of our infrastructure. When you come up with something more convincing, I encourage you to start a thread about it—this thread really should be limited to the discussion of the bridge accident.
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:09 pm

Quoting steex (Reply 36):

I gave the specific example of Chicago, where a great deal of the transit ridership as well as highway commuting is done from the suburbs to the City in addition to all of the intra-City transit.

I think you're kind of missing my point. The fuel tax revenues aren't enough to pay for all the roads. So why would you take more from that revenue source thereby exacerbating the problem? If you want to subsidize mass transit, just do it outright with the general fund. If you don't want to use the general fund, then raise fares.

Quoting steex (Reply 36):
it is one of the MOST efficient in terms of allocation of scarce resources.

If it were, it wouldn't need a 75% taxpayer subsidy.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 38):
I actually voted against the MAX extension to Milwaukie. A couple of times, IIRC. Regardless, just tossing a link out about one project doesn't represent a well thought out argument for or against mass transit as an integral part of our infrastructure. When you come up with something more convincing, I encourage you to start a thread about it—this thread really should be limited to the discussion of the bridge accident.

Where did I say I'm against mass transit? My issue is how the funding is handled and how billions are wasted on it. There is no financial accountability in the transit sector. If there were, projects like the Max extension wouldn't have been put out there in the first place.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 34):
Which strikes me as a problem. The idea that failure of a single structural member would cause complete collapse strikes me as poor design for a structure that has human lives driving across it every day.

Could be a bad design coupled with age. Maybe 20 years ago it wouldn't have collapsed.

[Edited 2013-05-24 16:21:00]
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:13 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 34):
Which strikes me as a problem. The idea that failure of a single structural member would cause complete collapse strikes me as poor design for a structure that has human lives driving across it every day.

While it is possible, it's usually not the case - and keep in mind that it takes a relatively catastrophic event (or a long history or poor maintenance) to reach that failure point. The safety factors on structural design are typically very high, such that a member functioning at even 50% of its capacity will still hold traffic. In fact, with many major bridges, the physical structure is so heavy that the weight of traffic is almost insignificant.

It now sounds like the trailer load impacted every cross brace along the the top portion of the span that fell, and given the speed and weight of the truck, it would've significantly damaged the ability of the entire west side of the bridge's structure to transfer its load to the proper structural members. It may well have stood compromised but stable if only one had been hit.

I'll admit, though, that I've not done bridge design in many years and now focus primarily on other transportation and traffic engineering.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 34):
As far as I can see, there are two bridges across that river. The other bridge is quite small by comparison. This is going to be a fustercluck of enormous proportions.

Yeah, traffic is going to be a disaster during the closure. There is only one directly adjacent bridge, but there are a few other slightly more circuitous routes that will likely take some of the load as well. Still, unlike the I-35W bridge, this doesn't have the benefit of being surrounded by a well developed transportation to absorb the redistribution of traffic.
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:20 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 39):
I think you're kind of missing my point. The fuel tax revenues aren't enough to pay for all the roads. So why would you take more from that revenue source thereby exacerbating the problem? If you want to subsidize mass transit, just do it outright with the general fund.

I think you're kind of missing my point - in some places it is no longer possible to build a highway transportation system to accommodate all of the traffic demand that would exist WITHOUT a transit system. If you remove 2.1 million trips from the Chicago transit system, that doesn't suddenly open up a bunch of right-of-way with which to build new freeways and widen the existing ones. You reach a point of diminishing returns in your attempt to grow the highway system, and eventually you reach a tipping point where it's more efficient to spend that same money keeping people off the roads you have now so they remain sufficient rather than trying to build ever-larger highways to handle the growing traffic.
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:20 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 39):
Where did I say I'm against mass transit?

Re-read what I wrote.

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 39):
Regardless, just tossing a link out about one project doesn't represent a well thought out argument for or against mass transit as an integral part of our infrastructure.

With all of your one-liners, with little meat behind them, there isn't much to grasp onto to determine where you stand on what. Obviously, we view how the money is allocated differently, but that's about all that's clear to me at the moment.

But again, this thread should be limited to the bridge collapse. If you want to discuss mass transit, start a thread. I'm sure there'll be a lot of interest.
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:23 pm

Quoting steex (Reply 41):
I think you're kind of missing my point - in some places it is no longer possible to build a highway transportation system to accommodate all of the traffic demand that would exist WITHOUT a transit system. If you remove 2.1 million trips from the Chicago transit system, that doesn't suddenly open up a bunch of right-of-way with which to build new freeways and widen the existing ones. You reach a point of diminishing returns in your attempt to grow the highway system, and eventually you reach a tipping point where it's more efficient to spend that same money keeping people off the roads you have now so they remain sufficient rather than trying to build ever-larger highways to handle the growing traffic.

Having funds available is not always about expansion. Sometimes its just about proper maintenance or rebuilding things like bridges so that when a truck hits them they don't collapse...
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:25 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 43):
Having funds available is not always about expansion. Sometimes its just about proper maintenance or rebuilding things like bridges so that when a truck hits them they don't collapse...

Yes, I'm aware of this - and the more traffic a highway carries, the more frequently it requires maintenance, also.
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Fri May 24, 2013 11:36 pm

Quoting steex (Reply 36):
Least efficient from some viewpoints of how funding should be handled - it is one of the MOST efficient in terms of allocation of scarce resources.

BTW, does the fuel tax help pay for all the oil wars, oversize military that goes with them, etc. ?
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Sat May 25, 2013 12:00 am

We desperately need to fix our infrastructure...
Restoring Penn State's transportation heritage...
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Sat May 25, 2013 12:35 am

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 46):

Agreed. I'd like to see substantially more of the cost of transport taken off the general fund so that it can't be played with like a political toy so that real projects get completed, like replacing 60 year old bridges.
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Sat May 25, 2013 2:04 am

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 28):
So the ride in the city should be subsidized by the Suburbs?

Considering the value of the Park & Ride systems and the levels of commuters that mass transit can absorb from the roads I would say "Yes".

Quoting aaron747 (Reply 37):
I guess stuff like this would have made sense to you?

Funny you should put that map up. I had a friend who for years commuted from Palo Alto to the City every workday. Took coffee and the morning paper with him going to work and got a mixed drink in a can and a good book heading home. Like a lot of people he eliminated the need for all the freeways that were not built.

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 39):
The fuel tax revenues aren't enough to pay for all the roads.

But we have more funds than federal fuel tax revenues. Start with local (state) petrol taxes. Then add in city/county sales and property taxes that go to roads. And, most importantly, include toll roads.

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 39):
There is no financial accountability in the transit sector.

I believe that in order to look at the financial costs of mass transit you need to look at the road costs they absorb. The private sector in major cities like New York CIty or Chicago could not function at their present levels without mass transit. Not only are the roads totally inadequate there would be no reasonable parking facilities in the city itself.

Quoting steex (Reply 40):
It now sounds like the trailer load impacted every cross brace along the the top portion of the span that fell,

But it didn't impact the cross braces in every other span? I'd like to know if previous maintenance reduced clearance and that change was not properly noted by the state DOT.

Quoting steex (Reply 41):
I think you're kind of missing my point - in some places it is no longer possible to build a highway transportation system to accommodate all of the traffic demand that would exist WITHOUT a transit system.

Would 20 or 30 lanes in each direction be a problem for Chicago? I'd sure like to see the tunnels and/or bridges heading into New York City from various directions.  
Quoting cjg225 (Reply 46):

We desperately need to fix our infrastructure...

Not going to happen. That would take increasing various taxes that politicians are not going to do. Going full force on the various fixes would be a great boost for the economy, but even that doesn't matter.
 
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RE: I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses

Sat May 25, 2013 3:32 am

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 48):

Not going to happen. That would take increasing various taxes that politicians are not going to do. Going full force on the various fixes would be a great boost for the economy, but even that doesn't matter.

Oh, I'm aware it won't happen. There will be some empty calls for infrastructure repairs now, but nothing will happen.

Our federal government is so incapable of accomplishing anything of value anymore and cannot possibly comprehend the need to tackle various practical but pedestrian areas of concern.
Restoring Penn State's transportation heritage...

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