This week’s Pic of the Week series that pays tribute to James Baughn also pays tribute to one of the bridges he photographed that lost its life to stupidity. The Westphalia Bridge spans the Maries River, NE of Westphalia in Osage County, Missouri. The longest span, a Pratt through truss with pinned connections and Lattice portal bracings, was built by the Kansas City Bridge Company in 1893 and has a total length of 145 feet. The three pony truss spans- consisting of two Pratt half-hips and a subdivided V-laced span, were added by the Interstate Bridge Company in Kansas City in 1902. Together, the total length of the bridge was 279 feet, with the width being 13.8 feet. The bridge had a total weight of only five tons- and no trucks allowed!
And that was what led to the collapse of the structure on August 17, 2020. A 28 ton rig tried crossing the bridge only to fail after the first few feet! The reason for crossing the bridge on the part of the trucker: He was only following the GPS!
There are two ways to react to this: The first is lecturing him about road signs and their existence, like in this famous song produced 50 years ago by the Five Man Electrical Band:
But even then, sometimes stupidity requires extreme action. You can change stupidity if you defame the person for his actions on the international level and make him pay for it. Therefore, we decided to give this driver, who won the Author’s Choice Awards in the category of Bonehead Story, the Timmy.
The Timmy is when everyone congregates for a few seconds, then gangs up on the person and yells as loud as possible the following:
After seeing too many stories about people not doing the math and the lame excuses that follow, not to mention reading up on the lack of attention paid to the signs, it is time to show these people that math and physics are important, but also logical thinking! When there is a five ton limit on a bridge and your truck weighs 28 tons, you don’t rely on your GPS and move forward, taking the risk. You ask for alternative directions. You ask for HELP, DAMMIT!!!
And so, to this poor soul who relied too much on the GPS and too little with the math and physics, this one’s for you:
To all you folks out there: Make damn sure you do the Timmy to the next dumbass who tries to do what this guy did to the Westphalia Bridge, and to all the stupid, retarded drivers who have destroyed many prized works in the past five years, which is one way too many.
If the truck’s too high, don’t cross it.
If the truck’s overweight, don’t cross it.
If in doubt and cannot do the math correctly, don’t cross it.
In fact if you are a driver and you see a restriction ahead, don’t cross it!
Do the math and don’t cross it! DUH!!!!
That’s more profanity than I usually use in my column 😉