Design Error Essay

771 words - 4 pages

The I-35W Bridge, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was a bridge that opened in November of 1967 and was designed by Sverdrup & Parcel and Associates, Inc. The bridge had a truss arch design that spanned a total distance across the Mississippi River of 1907 feet. Also, the bridge was a deck truss which means the roadway was located on top of the truss itself. With a total of 4 piers, 2 on either side of the Mississippi River, that supported the bridge, the I-35W Bridge crossed the Mississippi River in 3 main spans; the longest span, which was located directly above the river, was 458 feet long. On August 1, 2007, the I-35W Bridge collapsed and sent the 80+ vehicles on the bridge into the ...view middle of the document...

The Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center Report states that the U10 gusset plate, the origin for the failure of the bridge, was only 1/2” thick. In other sections of the bridge, gusset plates got as thick as 1 3/8”. A thicker plate should have been used on joints like the U10 joint. The designer of the bridge made an error in the design analysis when calculating the thickness of each gusset plate needed for each joint.
The design error along with a few other factors led to the collapse of the bridge. When the bridge first opened, the traffic deck had 2 lanes of traffic going in each direction for a total of 4 lanes. However, in 1998, the bridge was renovated so that there were 4 lanes of traffic going in each direction for a total of 8 lanes. Along with a few other bridge renovations, the weight of the bridge was significantly increased. Also, the rush hour traffic and the construction vehicles located on the bridge for repairs during the day of collapse added a considerable amount of weight too.
Under these circumstances, the center span of the bridge collapsed and fell into the Mississippi River. All...

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