Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Making the Ends Meet

Construction has been going on for several years now on a new interstate bridge not far from where I work. I grabbed a chance to stop one day a couple weeks ago to take some photos.
A barge passes under one section of the unfinished bridge. I wonder what it looks like from down on the water? As I watched, I saw workers walking out on the ends of the bridge. Wouldn't do to have vertigo in a job like that.
Here you see several unfinished portions of the bridge. What would happen if someone miscalculated and the ends didn't meet? If they were off like 2 or 3 feet? I remember that happening to me when I'd hem a dress sometimes. One side would be longer than the other and it would look pretty odd. But on a bridge like this? I wonder, has it ever happened?
Another unfinished section overhangs a city street. I wanted to walk under it and take pictures but cars kept coming. Not a good idea to take photos when cars are coming.

It won't be long until the bridge is finished; perhaps this summer. In the meantime, it's been fascinating to watch it being built. A co-worker said that his neighbor is working on this project, and that there are high-tension steel cables connecting the sections together.
Which got me to wondering--if the cable snaps, what happens? Do the ends go flying back like a rubber band, flinging bits of bridge like balls of paper into the air? Do they replace the cable from time to time? I suppose many bridges are built like this, but I will be thinking about that big steel cable when I drive across this one, wondering if it's going to hold for just a little while longer.

5 comments:

Susan said...

We're getting a new bridge nearby too, but it's a tiny one compared to yours (and, with Irish people working on it, probably taking four times as long to finish, between the rain and the chat and the teabreaks). It's stone, and looks like it will have pretty arches eventually.

Years ago we did have a miscalculating incident just as you mention: during the Troubles the British Army blew up many of the roads and bridges that crossed the border (never mind that that cut a lot of people off from their own lands, or family, schools or hospitals, etc, not their problem right?) and years later during the peace process some of the roads and bridges were rebuilt. In one case, the authorities on both sides of the border were given the blueprints, marked with precise numbers and diagrams, but it didn't occur to anyone that the British use imperial (feet and inches) and the Irish use metric (metres and millimetres). Needless to say, when it came time to join up, they didn't.
TYPICAL!!

Anyway. Bridges scare the beJEEZus out of me, I don't like going over them. But I like your photos.

Cathy said...

I stood in awe of this bridge construction alst Friday. i take my girls' to Eye Care One and it's just a half block from the bridge. It's amazing. My husband says they have a webcam on it but I've not gotten that interested in it before. He claims people from all over the worls are watching it being built because of the special way it is being constructed. It's crazy to look at.

Janet, said...

My son says it will be the longest of it's kind in the US. It is made of concrete instead of steel and by making it that way it lowered the cost of it substantially. My brother in law works for the company that did the foundation for the project. Andrew says the cables will not break, so you can feel safe going under it. He says that it is hollow inside of it,too.

Granny Sue said...

Susan, that story cracked me up! no wonder the English and Irish have problems! I hope we don't run into the same kind of thing with this bridge. I swear I think they've been working on it for 4 years.

Isn't it cool, Cathy? I would love to walk up on it, but I suppose OSHA would get a twist in their hardhat if I did that.

janet, my co-worker said the same thing--it's the longest of this kind in the world. Which makes me nervous. Hasn't been tried before, you know... and hollow in the center--wonder if it'll be a new hidey-hole for the homeless? Probably not, it'll probably be locked up. I suppose they'll need to get inside for maintenance.

Anonymous said...

A story from a while ago -- when the arch was being built in St. Louis, they started from each leg and went up from there. But at the top, the 2 legs did not meet precisely. I don't remember the solution that fixed the problem, but obviously this does happen in construction jobs. Batsy

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