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January 16, 2008

January 16, 2007 - NTSB Safety Recommendation

Yesterday the National Transporation Safety Board released a safety recommendation that addressed a design issue related to the August 1, 2007 I-35W bridge collapse.

The Safety Board is concerned that, for at least this bridge, there was a breakdown in the design review procedures that allowed a serious design error to be incorporated into the construction of the I-35W bridge. The bridge was designed with gusset plates that were undersized, and the design firm did not detect the design error when the plans were created. Because of this design error, the riveted gusset plates became the weakest member of this fracture-critical bridge, whereas normally gusset plates are expected to be stronger than the beams they connect. Further, there are few, if any, recalculations after the design stage that would detect design errors in gusset plates. Finally, other programs to ensure the safety of our Nation's bridges, such as the methods used in calculating load ratings and the inspections conducted through the NBIS program, are not designed or expected to uncover original mistakes in gusset plate designs or calculations. (from the Safety Recommendation Letter)

Resources:

News Release - January 15, 2008

Safety Recommendation Letter - January 15, 2008

Federal Highway Administration - Interim Report - January 11, 2008

Additional resouces are available on the Government Publications Library I-35W Bridge Collapse site.

The final report regarding the bridge collapse is projected to be done by year end.

December 26, 2007

December 26, 2007 - Appropriations Bill signed into Law

Today President Bush signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (originally entitled Making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes) into law.

Resources:

* The original H.R. 2764 Appropriations Bill

* House Amendments to Senate Amendment to H.R. 2764 - State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008)

* White House News Release

Of interest to Minnesotans, the law provides funding for rebuilding the I35W Bridge ($195 million) and adding the Central Corridor to the Light Rail system ($10.2 million).

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Source: http://www.rules.house.gov/110/text/omni/divk.pdf

September 20, 2007

September 20, 2007 - Highway Bridges in the United States - an Overview

Bureau of Transportation (BTS) Special Report. September 2007. SR-003.
Highway Bridges in the United States - an Overview

Bridges are an integral part of the U.S. highway network, providing links across natural barriers, passage over railroads and highways, and freeway connections. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) maintains a database of our nation's highway bridges—the National Bridge Inventory (NBI)—with detailed information on all public road bridges greater than 20 feet. This special report gives a brief synopsis of that inventory, including bridge condition and the resources spent for maintenance and upgrades.