List Your Equipment  /  Dealer Login  /  Create Account

Delaware Bridge Update: Decades Old Construction Error At Fault

Mon January 23, 2017 - Northeast Edition
Jason Laughlin


(PA TURNPIKE COMMISSION)
The complete fracture occurred on a 14-inch truss member beneath the deck, or driving surface, of the Delaware River Turnpike Bridge. The affected truss member is located just below the westbound right lane of I-276 on the west shore.
(PA TURNPIKE COMMISSION) The complete fracture occurred on a 14-inch truss member beneath the deck, or driving surface, of the Delaware River Turnpike Bridge. The affected truss member is located just below the westbound right lane of I-276 on the west shore.

An apparent construction error six decades ago could have caused the fracture discovered Friday in a steel beam that forced the closure of the Delaware River Bridge, an engineering expert who viewed pictures of the cracked truss said Sunday.

An image of the cracked truss - a supporting piece - on the bridge that runs between Bucks County in Pennsylvania and Burlington County in New Jersey shows signs of holes that had been mistakenly drilled into the steel beam and then filled with plug welds, a typical solution in the 1950s when the bridge was built, said Karl Frank, professor emeritus of engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. His areas of study include fractures and fatigues in metal structures and welded and bolted joints, according to the university website.

The image is on the website of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and Frank viewed it there.

"What we do nowadays, we don't do that," he said. "If you have a misdrilled hole, you would just put a bolt in and tighten it up. The problem is they welded it up."

The plug welds created a weak point, Frank said, and the stress of traffic crossing the bridge continuously since it opened in 1956 could have led to a sudden crack, splitting the beam at the welds.

A spokesman for the commission, which operates the 1.2-mile-long bridge jointly with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, did not dispute Frank's conclusion, but said turnpike engineers had too little information to confirm anything about the crack's cause.

For more information, visit Philly.com at http://url.ie/11nxz.




Today's top stories

DOT Pauses 'Buy America' Provision to Provide Relief to Already Strained Industry

Pennsylvania Contractor Takes Delivery of First Doosan DD100 Dozer

Wirtgen Slipform Pavers Bring Numerous Innovations, World Premiere to bauma 2022

Granite Tackles California Congestion Issue With $700M '101 in Motion' Project

Blanchard Machinery CEO, President Joe Blanchard Passes at Age 60

Alabama's Bank Independent to Build $60M, Four-Story Muscle Shoals Complex

Hitachi's Sam Shelton Retires After 27 Years With Company

Former Owner of Highway Equipment Company Dies, 84


 






ceg-logo ceg-logo ceg-logo ceg-logo ceg-logo
39.04690 \\ -77.49030 \\ Ashburn \\ VA