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Could Baltimore bridge disaster happen to Tacoma Narrows spans?

Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Credit: The Olympian.

Could Baltimore bridge disaster happen to Tacoma Narrows spans? Here’s what we know

Two dozen cargo ships pass under the Narrows Bridge every year.

Excerpt from The Tacoma News-Tribune via MSN:

Baltimore has now joined Tacoma as a city inextricably linked with monumental bridge collapses. But the demise of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge less than a year after it opened in 1940 came during a wind storm and was due to its poor design. Tuesday’s collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge was the result of a ship strike.

Hours after the Key collapse, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that he knew of no bridge in the United States “that has been constructed to withstand a direct impact from a vessel of this size,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The accident raises the question: Could the current Tacoma Narrows Bridge fail after a ship strike?

Suspension and truss bridges

The second Narrows span was built in 1950 and the third was opened in 2007. Both are suspension bridges. Their bridge decks are held aloft by cables that are in turn supported by the bridges’ towers and their anchors set at either end. Other well known West Coast suspension bridges include the Golden Gate in San Francisco and the Lions Gate in Vancouver, B.C.

The Key Bridge is a truss bridge, a superstructure that rests on its supports. The 1966 Astoria-Megler Bridge built near the mouth of the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon is the longest truss bridge in the United States. It reaches its highest point close to Astoria, Oregon, where it crosses over the commercial shipping channel.

Read more from The Tacoma News-Tribune via MSN.

Posted by Steve on April 1, 2024 at 12:01 am | Permalink

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