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Westgate Bridge Collapse Engineering

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The West Gate Bridge fell down on the 15th of October in 1970, it was caused by a few half girders on the west part of the bridge that didn't fit. They attempted to fix this with an unusual method which made the situation worse. The bridge buckled and eventually collapsed. It killed the workers while they were on break and only a few were left alive.

Introduction

The West Gate Bridge started construction in 1968 and was the second longest bridge in Australia. The building process was going well at first though an unusual method was being used throughout the project. About 2 years into construction, problems began to show. There was an imbalance between several steel girders which made them not fix into position. Some engineers proposed putting 10 concrete blocks which weighed 8 tons individually, on each of the girders to put them into place which caused the bridge to buckle.

Background

The company Freeman Fox & Partners was in charge of build and this was their 20th bridge.Some of their previous works were The Adome Bridge, Humber Bridge, Erskine Bridge, and Forth Road Bridge. The West Gate Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia which spanned over the Yarra River north of Port Phillip and is an important link to the inner city.

Investigation

For the most part, the investigation was mostly interviewing survivors and explaining what happened. The blame was mostly on the engineer who designed it and the engineers who ordered the concrete blocks.

Findings

It was found that Ward, aka Freeman Fox & Partners were responsible for giving the designs.The bridge was built unevenly and they tried to put concrete blocks on the girders. Their measurements were fixed in the rebuild and there were no problems during the process.

Conclusion

It was structural engineer fault due to the failure of measuring properly and allowing to fixing the problem with concrete bricks, which resulted in the bridge buckling. The mess was cleaned up almost immediately. The ambulance got the injured, the firefighters put out the fire and the construction crew cleaned up the wreckage and started over. The bridge was reopened to the public in 1978.

Notes

  • Camber- is a rate of elevation between two rails
  • Snapped after removing buckle
  • Structural design failure
  • Freeman Fox & Partners
  • Second longest bridge in Australia and highest in the country
  • In October 15 1970, The span between piers 10 and 11 collapsed
  • 2,000 Tonne mass plummeted into mud and created an explosion
  • Rescuers risked their lives
  • Girders are large iron or steel beams used in complex structures
  • Unusual method of construction
  • 35 killed, 18 injured
  • Known for jumpers
  • Steel box girder cable-stayed bridge
  • Began construction in 1965
  • A cable-stayed bridge has one or more towers from which cables support the bridge deck

Sources

https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/wQLmdTVt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Gate_Bridge

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:UccIiYplRh8J:anengineersaspect.blogspot.com/2009/10/west-gate-bridge-collapse-on-its-39th.html+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-f4416355b6576128ede23ea6abd5452e-c?convert_to_webp=true

Rubric rating submitted on: 12/21/2016, 12:20:28 PM by [email protected]

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