Bridge Bashing

by Linda Mastaglio, Owner; Thoughts, Words & Images, Irving, Texas,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 4, Pg. 38-40

Document Type: Feature article


Ships can be dangerous to bridges. Collisions are increasing and costs are considerable. There are ways to reduce the risks, but these cost money, too. A 1993 vessel collision with and Amtrak bridge in Alabama cost 47 lives and millions of dollars. This was only one of many disastrous collisions that are occurring with increasing frequency worldwide. America's most battered bridge carries the Southern Pacific Railroad's main line across the Atchafalaya River in Alabama. This structure has been struck hundreds of times since it was constructed in 1908. While protective systems were finally put in place in 1978, the bridge spans and piers have been repeatedly repaired and replaced as each new incident wrought further structural damage.

Subject Headings: Bridges | Benefit cost ratios | Ships | Railroad bridges | Rail transportation | Ship collisions | Rivers and streams

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