Roads & Bridges mag continues cover-up of June 21 truss collapse at Figg's Jordan Bridge VA
By Peter Samuel
2012/11/26: Roads & Bridges magazine a supposedly authoritative industry publication has a three page report on construction of the beautiful new high level Norfolk Bridge in South Jordan VA. Written by two Figg engineers it is a comprehensive account except for one thing.
It manages to omit all mention of the most notable aspect of the construction of this precast segmental box girder bridge - the upset of the construction truss that caused the loss of a half-built span June 21 this year.
It was a nasty accident (see pictures.)
No one was killed but they could easily have been.
Thousands of tons of concrete segments were jostled around and damaged, many tons fell out of control to the ground below.
It was costly.
There was expensive demolition and clean-up.
Damaged and destroyed bridge segments had to be built a second time.
The construction truss was damaged too and had to be dismantled, cut up, a new one ordered, made up, and delivered.
An opening of the bridge was planned for July 16 and a bridge run and so-called 'bash' celebration was heavily publicized.
All that had to be called off.
The bridge didn't open until October 29, over three months late.
The investors lost a quarter of a year's toll revenues.
As far as the Roads & Bridges magazine account is concerned none of this ever happened.
There was no accident.
There was no delay.
The Jordan Bridge's construction was an uneventful affair. So there's nothing to explain.
COMMENT: Disgraceful, unprofessional cover-up
This cover-up seems to us deceitful and disgraceful, and plain unprofessional.
Something went badly wrong. You don't write articles about this project pretending the truss incident never happened.
Word as we hear it unofficially is that the construction truss failed. If true why did it fail?
- was it damaged?
- was it deteriorated?
- was it underdesigned for the job?
- was it improperly secured?
- was there operator error clumsily placing a segment?
Segmental box girder construction is a major bridge construction mode, and a good one.
And Figg engineering has a reputation as specialists in this method.
They say on their website:
"The FIGG team has studied, designed or built bridges in 38 states and four nations with construction values over $10 billion."
Professionals don't cover-up setbacks like the June 21 accident at the Jordan bridge.
They investigate and report what went wrong, to reassure clients and the public, so everyone can learn from the mistakes.