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Engineers urge bridge 'health' checks

Started by Newsy, August 19, 2018, 02:22:49 PM

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Engineers urge bridge 'health' checks

Two men look at the collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa, Italy, on Friday. (AP photo)

A bridge that collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa with at least 38 people reported dead has raised the alarm about ageing bridges in Thailand that need to be monitored and maintained regularly.

The collapse of the Morandi viaduct serves as a lesson for Thailand to take precautions to prevent any similar incidents happening here, the Council of Engineers (COE) says.

COE secretary-general Amorn Pimanmas said the bridge collapse in Italy has prompted concerns over ageing bridges around the world, including Thailand.

Factors contributing to a bridge collapse include design flaws, faulty construction, degradation and corrosion of materials used in construction, massive loads from vehicles passing over them and natural causes such as earthquakes and strong winds.

In terms of engineering, a bridge collapse can be prevented by structural health monitoring -- a system to regularly monitor the health of bridge structures in the same way as people get their health checked at regular intervals, Mr Amorn said. No details were available on how often bridges are given such checks in Thailand.

Here, many bridge collapse incidents have been found to occur during construction because systems put in place to support structures as they are being built and scaffolding were not strong enough, he said.

The Morandi viaduct was completed in 1967 and has been riddled with structural problems for decades, leading to expensive maintenance and criticism from engineering experts, it was reported.

The bridge, which forms part of a toll motorway linking the port city of Genoa with southern France, collapsed in torrential rain last Tuesday, sending dozens of vehicles crashing onto a riverbed, a railway and two warehouses.

The government blamed the operator of the viaduct for Tuesday's collapse, and threatened to strip the firm of its contracts.

Taman Tun

Bridges normally have a design life of 100 years (http://www.concrete.org.uk/fingertips-nuggets.asp?cmd=display&id=750).  However, to achieve this design life the following needs to happen:-

The bridge has a sound structural design;

Concrete and reinforcing materials are strictly in accordance with specifications

Installation of concrete and reinforcing is carried out under carefully controlled conditions. 

In the case of the bridge at Genoa, the basic design and quality of materials is being called into question.  Lets hope that the Bangkok Metro has been designed and installed in line with the 100 year requirement, otherwise there is chaos on the way. 

My current project is working to 100 year design life.  We have had several instances of having to hack up large quantities of concrete due to incorrect installation methodology.   
If the old only could, if the young only knew.


Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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