Two days ago, this bridge was nominated as a National Monument by the ASCE. Hard to believe that the tragedy happened 52 years ago and helped shape the way bridges are inspected.
A series on the failure of various bits of infrastructure, must include the failure that changed the way we inspect bridges. Silver Bridge Collapse.
On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed while it was full of rush-hour traffic, resulting in the deaths of 46 people. Two of the victims were never found. Investigation of the wreckage pointed to the cause of the collapse being the failure of a single eyebar in a suspension chain, due to a small defect 0.1 inch (2.5 mm) deep. Analysis showed that the bridge was carrying much heavier loads than it had originally been designed for and was poorly maintained.
National Bridge Inspection Standards were a result of that collapse. Real inspections are supposed to be carried out at least every 2 years, and things should be (and usually are) addressed. Following the 1967 collapse many bridges were retrofitted or dismantled.
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