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Brits to Remake Tacoma Bridge Disaster?

By dec in News
Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:17:48 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)
Kuro5hin.org

BBC news is running a story about the UKP 18m Millenium Bridge. Basically the bridge sways under certain conditions (load, weather). Some MP is calling for engineers to "tighten" the bridge, which to my mind is a completely wrong-headed thing to do (if it can't swing, it's sure to snap).

The bridge was closed Saturday and Sunday, and engineers were still trying to figure out where the problem lay, as of yesterday.


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Brits to Remake Tacoma Bridge Disaster? | 50 comments (50 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Formatting! Capital letters are you... (2.00 / 1) (#10)
by inspire on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 07:08:53 AM EST

inspire voted -1 on this story.

Formatting! Capital letters are your friend.

Good story though, I'd like to see it edited and resubmitted.
--
What is the helix?

Hey! If science can build it, scien... (none / 0) (#35)
by w1ldb1ll on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 07:12:52 AM EST

w1ldb1ll voted 1 on this story.

Hey! If science can build it, science can fix it. Right? Sometimes we think we are infallible, so we are doomed at that point to failure.

I have no idea idea what an MP is, ... (none / 0) (#18)
by Commienst on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 07:16:30 AM EST

Commienst voted -1 on this story.

I have no idea idea what an MP is, spelling it you might help. Whether your browser crashes doesnt is irrelevant and it would be nice if you turned it the web address into a hyperlink.

Re: I have no idea idea what an MP is, ... (none / 0) (#41)
by Enthrad on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 02:59:53 AM EST

Member of Parliament

[ Parent ]
I *want* it to collapse. If I hear ... (none / 0) (#8)
by pwhysall on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 07:37:24 AM EST

pwhysall voted -1 on this story.

I *want* it to collapse. If I hear one more stupid project justified by the word "millennium", I'm gonna SCREAM.

And ferchrissakes, there are TWO 'n's in millennium!
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown

Not exactly a topic for discussion.... (none / 0) (#37)
by nsanch on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 07:38:56 AM EST

nsanch voted -1 on this story.

Not exactly a topic for discussion. I go to /. for news, and here for discussion.

It's a suspension bridge, but it so... (none / 0) (#2)
by Fish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 07:53:25 AM EST

Fish voted 1 on this story.

It's a suspension bridge, but it sounds pretty cool to go on, if you don't have a weak stomach! They closed off the bridge when 500 people all started walking on it at once. [What happened to beta testing?] You'd have thought the engineers would have worked out how to get it right by now, people build bridges all over the place these days.

For the record, it's millennium, no... (3.00 / 2) (#7)
by Velian on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:14:58 AM EST

Velian voted 1 on this story.

For the record, it's millennium, not millenium. ;)

Very scary ... (none / 0) (#33)
by susanc on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:43:21 AM EST

susanc voted 1 on this story.

Very scary

When it opened a couple of days ago it had a huge parade as the first to cross it and hundreds of people went to visit - I was sorry I didn't go.

But then the news started reporting the enormous sway! People were careening all over the place, it looked like a bridge full of drunken Londoners!

Re: Very scary... (none / 0) (#43)
by MonkeyMagic on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 04:53:01 AM EST

Don't be sorry. We happened to be walking along the river that day and there was an enormous queue that wasn't moving - and it was hot. It's only a bridge - I can't understand what's so great about that.

[ Parent ]
Re: Very scary... (none / 0) (#49)
by Louis_Wu on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 03:48:39 AM EST

It's only a bridge - I can't understand what's so great about that.

The first bridge across the Thames in 106 years. Heck, my town isn't 106 years old.

Louis_Wu
"The power to tax is the power to destroy."
John Marshal, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
[ Parent ]

Needs a bit of a rewrite, we don't ... (none / 0) (#22)
by Marcin on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:47:38 AM EST

Marcin voted -1 on this story.

Needs a bit of a rewrite, we don't need to know about the author's browser problems :)
M.

Is this the bridge that was declare... (none / 0) (#31)
by louridas on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:48:55 AM EST

louridas voted 1 on this story.

Is this the bridge that was declared opened by the queen last month even though it was not complete? That is very British. As for the engineering problems experienced in the final (?) release, there seems to be a millennium malaise, what with the dome etc...

If bridges were built the way that ... (none / 0) (#9)
by Neuromancer on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:58:53 AM EST

Neuromancer voted 1 on this story.

If bridges were built the way that software is written... Anybody remember that quote from software engineering class? Teeheehee

You have got to put this up. ... (none / 0) (#26)
by Stuart Ward on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:08:30 AM EST

Stuart Ward voted 1 on this story.

You have got to put this up.

-1 for no write-up ... (none / 0) (#21)
by Rasputin on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:26:47 AM EST

Rasputin voted 1 on this story.

-1 for no write-up +2 for K5 connection
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

Metacomment:Needs some clean-up wor... (none / 0) (#6)
by eann on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:11:20 AM EST

eann voted 1 on this story.

Metacomment:Needs some clean-up work, but it won't survive a rehash in the queue, so I might as well vote for this one.

Metacomet: a mountain in northern Connecticut.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


I thought that there were unusual c... (none / 0) (#1)
by hattig on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:36:24 AM EST

hattig voted 1 on this story.

I thought that there were unusual conditions - 500 people suddenly running across it when it opened and a stiff breeze, i.e., not usual conditions.

Of course, on New Years eve, etc, surely there will be many people on the bridge again? Maybe they could make the bridge into a theme park ride, to go with the London Eye (a very big wheel) and the Millennium Dome.



Seems a little too local and insign... (none / 0) (#11)
by End on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:44:52 AM EST

End voted -1 on this story.

Seems a little too local and insignificant: -1 Relates of course to kuro5hin's Tacoma Disaster logo: +1 No true hyperlink: -1 (shouldn't have to cut and paste a URL from a web page!)

-JD

I would resubmit the story with cor... (none / 0) (#34)
by Buck Satan on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:47:02 AM EST

Buck Satan voted -1 on this story.

I would resubmit the story with corrected links and stuff.

good storry. But there is a reason ... (none / 0) (#4)
by fvw on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:51:21 AM EST

fvw voted -1 on this story.

good storry. But there is a reason HTML has <A HREF=> tags you know...

heh. Like management should tell t... (none / 0) (#20)
by Coram on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 11:11:33 AM EST

Coram voted 0 on this story.

heh. Like management should tell the coders how to write the code.

--
judo ergo sum

This story has nothing to do techno... (none / 0) (#13)
by Gimptek on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 11:30:55 AM EST

Gimptek voted -1 on this story.

This story has nothing to do technology in the trenches. It seems rushed and particularly uninformed. The person has trouble with their browser? Re-post this in a clearer and more topical format.

+1 I like the suject. Long before a... (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by new500 on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 11:48:51 AM EST

new500 voted 0 on this story.

+1 I like the suject. Long before anyone trumped up this bridge as an idea - I loved to sit on St Paul's Steps opposite Bankside Power Station (the present Tate Modern) at night and watch the Thames flow by. Almost always it was deserted, which suited me because I often wanted to be alone to think and rest.

But it was deserted precisely because it was a windswept corner (man i hope these tags close properly this time:) !!!!

The whole upstrean of the Thames, towards Millank past the Houses of Parliament channels downstream winds on the ebb of the tide. Anyone who has ever combed the washes and beaches of the river could tell you that. And that every bend in the river, since dumb ass developers have trapped the banks with high rise expensive and ugly appartment buildings, is now a wind funnel.

The whole idea that they wind tunnel tested the bridge design is Rot. The torional forces of air siwrling round a bend in the river (at this point it is a shallow 60degree curve from the South Bank to the City stretch as it flows down to Southwark and the Isle of Dogs) make for highly turbulent air.

Sadly -1 for complete lack of coverage in your article. As a Londoner I should say the topic is an engineering / environmental one. Loss of sorely needed quiet spots in the City vs. pedestrian and traffic flow + chance for some good *har topic* engineering debate

This *is* relevant to stressed out K5 readers (IMO). But I think you need to actually write up some subject material to discuss.


== Idle Random Thoughts. Usual disclaimers apply. ==
Re: +1 I like the suject. Long before a... (none / 0) (#42)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 04:42:57 AM EST

+1 I like the suject. Long before anyone trumped up this bridge as an idea - I loved to sit on St Paul's Steps opposite Bankside Power Station (the present Tate Modern) at night and watch the Thames flow by. Almost always it was deserted, which suited me because I often wanted to be alone to think and rest.

To me as a Londoner - one of the tragedies of recent times has been how the area around St Paul's has been completely ruined. First by banks building high rise blocks that were not needed - as they then fired all their staff and went elsewhere and then by the large amount of complete crap of the miscellaneous kind that has been forced upon what was once a nice relatively quiet area.

--
chris

[ Parent ]

Re: +1 I like the suject. Long before a... (none / 0) (#47)
by new500 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:46:04 AM EST

Ahh, Paternoster Square. 20 something years of suffering excruciating ugliness. Petition after Petition, complaint after complaint. Tourist after tourist asking me "WTF you do that for?"

So they're rebuilding it now. NOOOOOOOO! Take away the offices. Make a park or something. I can't believe (oh but i can - it just makes me upset) there can be such wanton disregard for the truly beautiful sites of London and the people who live and work here.

I wholly sympathise with you.


== Idle Random Thoughts. Usual disclaimers apply. ==
[ Parent ]
So, those engineers in jolly old En... (none / 0) (#24)
by madams on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 11:52:34 AM EST

madams voted 1 on this story.

So, those engineers in jolly old England are trying to steal the Tacoma Narrows Bridge's claim to fame as Funniest Bridge Disaster, eh? If the Millenium Bridge falls, we should make it the new K5 mascot!

--
Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.

This doesn't seem like fodder for a... (none / 0) (#5)
by Greener on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:07:42 PM EST

Greener voted 1 on this story.

This doesn't seem like fodder for a discussion and the writeup could use more meat but it is strangely fitting.

The bridge itself looks impressive but to me kind of out of place compared to the rest of London's bridges and older buildings. However, London itself is an eclectic mix of old and new structures so it isn't entirely out of place.

Lack of write-up, way to off-the-cu... (none / 0) (#17)
by pdubroy on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:25:19 PM EST

pdubroy voted -1 on this story.

Lack of write-up, way to off-the-cuff...

But if the URL were a link, it woul... (none / 0) (#25)
by El Volio on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:41:41 PM EST

El Volio voted 0 on this story.

But if the URL were a link, it would be better...

The bridge is still open ... and th... (none / 0) (#14)
by Aztech on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:31:07 PM EST

Aztech voted 1 on this story.

The bridge is still open ... and there's a slight sway in it, it's quite interesting when you walk across.

Very intersting, and certainly appr... (none / 0) (#30)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:35:05 PM EST

crayz voted 1 on this story.

Very intersting, and certainly appropriate considering the kuro5hin graphic :)

Rewrite and resubmit.... (none / 0) (#36)
by sakti on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 02:25:53 PM EST

sakti voted -1 on this story.

Rewrite and resubmit.

interresting, especially how it odd... (none / 0) (#28)
by eMBee on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 02:41:46 PM EST

eMBee voted 1 on this story.

interresting, especially how it oddly relates to the k5 logo :-)
--
Gnu is Not Unix / Linux Is Not UniX

until you clean it up, then take it... (none / 0) (#12)
by confidential on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 02:51:56 PM EST

confidential voted -1 on this story.

until you clean it up, then take it down

Hey, a swaying bridge... Kuro5hin..... (none / 0) (#16)
by StatGrape on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 03:14:36 PM EST

StatGrape voted 1 on this story.

Hey, a swaying bridge... Kuro5hin... fits like a glove.

NerdPerfect

Maybe K5 can get a new mascot now .... (none / 0) (#3)
by jdanhires on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 03:47:29 PM EST

jdanhires voted 1 on this story.

Maybe K5 can get a new mascot now . . . .

Hmmmm, can't find the bridge, but h... (none / 0) (#29)
by art on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:06:28 PM EST

art voted 1 on this story.

Hmmmm, can't find the bridge, but here's the wheel ...

Some engineer or other flunked thei... (none / 0) (#15)
by warpeightbot on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:17:50 PM EST

warpeightbot voted 1 on this story.

Some engineer or other flunked their defbods class... shoulda put a Georgia Tech engineering crew on it. (DEFormable BODies is a make-a-C-or-change-your-freaking-major class @gatech.... we don't graduate no weenie d-for-Diploma engineers.)

The story is uninteresting - leave ... (1.00 / 1) (#39)
by Gossi The Dog on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:34:08 PM EST

Gossi The Dog voted -1 on this story.

The story is uninteresting - leave it for Slashdot.
Gossi Da Dawg!

From what I've heard, the bridge is... (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by Nick Ives on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 05:26:51 PM EST

Nick Ives voted 0 on this story.

From what I've heard, the bridge is archtecturally stable. Its *designed* to swing, the fact that it sways so visably under high load when the wind is strong may be disconcerting, but the last thing we need is politicians telling engineers how to make bridges.

Bridges are supposed to sway. So do... (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by edotorg on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 05:52:15 PM EST

edotorg voted -1 on this story.

Bridges are supposed to sway. So do buildings.

Not of great interest to me, I'm af... (1.00 / 1) (#19)
by Dangermouse on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 06:24:37 PM EST

Dangermouse voted 0 on this story.

Not of great interest to me, I'm afraid. Might be worth reading for Physics / Engineering majors though.


-----
No one has "Rights", neither machines nor flesh-and-blood. Persons...have opportunities, not rights, which they do or do not use. - Lazarus Long

Re: Not of great interest to me, I'm af... (none / 0) (#50)
by Louis_Wu on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 04:08:25 AM EST

Some of us are, ahem, Mechanical Engineering majors. :)

Isn't it interesting that any real device (defined as not software) which performs like software is looked on as a failure. Example: the open source MP3 replacement Vorbis is pre-1.0 and people are giving it slack because it isn't even to the first stage. I think that the difference is that things like bridges and cars can kill, while software inconviences or costs money; dead people get a lot more attention than a lost morning's work.

I'm not trying to complain (but I appear to have done so rather well), just point out a difference which is glaringly large to an engineer in The Real World (TM) who hangs out in CyberSpace.

Louis_Wu
"The power to tax is the power to destroy."
John Marshal, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
[ Parent ]

Those who ignore history are doomed... (none / 0) (#23)
by deimos on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:17:47 PM EST

deimos voted 1 on this story.

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
irc.kuro5hin.org: Good Monkeys, Great Typewriters.

Archetypal Story deserves to be posted (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by mihalis on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:35:37 PM EST

I didn't get around to looking at the submission queue before this got posted but I'm glad it did. I was in Britain this weekend and basically this is just the latest in a series of problems with the Millenium celebrations. Many people in Britain are rightly fed up with the whole thing.

I suppose we can agree to ignore the fact that it was only 99 years since the previous century end celebrations..

More importantly, the government also gave the go ahead for a Millenium Dome and Millenium Ferris Wheel. Neither of those worked very well either.

Getting back to the bridge, it's important to realise this is just a pedestrian bridge (not exactly a research topic) in perhaps the most highly visible point in Britain to put one, and it was designed by the world-famous Over Arup. It links the area in front of St. Pauls to the new south bank modern art gallery. It shakes so much it frightens people!

Hopefully those responsible are suffering toe-curling pangs of embarrassment.

Anyway, how could this not be posted on K5? It's got technology, it's got culture, and it's got a shaky bridge!

Chris Morgan
-- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>

Re: Archetypal Story deserves to be posted (none / 0) (#46)
by squigly on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 08:56:52 AM EST

this is just the latest in a series of problems with the Millenium celebrations. Many people in Britain are rightly fed up with the whole thing.

Damn, and we've still got another 999 years until its over.

Getting back to the bridge, it's important to realise this is just a pedestrian bridge (not exactly a research topic)

Of course not. There are some things that you can assume though, such as that the frequency of most people's feet is going to be in a narrow range. And most of the lessons learned from road bridges should still apply.

What did make this bridge unusual is that it is a horizontal suspension bridge (i.e the towers go sideways rather than up). This has probably caused a lot more problems than they were expecting, and even if the swaying was expectedfrom models and simulations, they were probably not expecting it to be so disconcerting.

--
People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
In defense of a poor write-up (none / 0) (#44)
by dec on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 05:39:38 AM EST

My apologies to everyone who pointed out that my write-up was not very
well written. It's the first time I've posted anything on kuro5hin, so I didn't
stop to think that the story would go out unedited (I figured I was sending in a pointer or "heads-up" rather than a proper text). I promise I will try harder
the next time.

Thanks for the comments (mmm millennium.. 2 l's, 2m's, 2 n's)., thanks for selecting the "story" and, most of all, thanks for the rewrite.

Did I say thanks already?
dec.

Re: In defense of a poor write-up (none / 0) (#45)
by rusty on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 07:25:59 AM EST

Ah, there wasn't much to say about it anyway. I think you did as well as could be expected, considering that the basic story was: "Hey, another bridge threatening to collapse! We dig those!" :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Galloping Girdy II (none / 0) (#48)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 10:53:02 AM EST


I haven't yet seen any articles that describe HOW the bridge sways.
Left-right, up-down, twisting, etc..

That is a key portion of analysis that would help us predict the future of the bridge.

As I remember my Physics 102 breakdown of the Tacoma Narrows collapse, the biggest factor was the speed and force of the wind.

Essentially, the downwind side of the bridge had wind eddies which created a low pressure "pull" on the bridge. As the wind speed increased, the eddies would become unstable and "fall" off the edge of the bridge, swirling off down wind. The persistence of the wind would quickly create new eddies, recreating the pull. This had the effect of repeatedly plucking the bridge like a guitar string.

Most of the time, the windspeed was low enough that the eddies were reasonably stable. But the end came when the wind reached a speed that "plucked" the bridge in harmony with its resonant frequency.

You don't have to be Niikola Tesla to figure out what had to happen as a result of that.


So my question is, does anyone know what kind of swaying the bridge is doing?

Left and right is not so bad.
Up and down suggests problems in the future.

If it is twisting, I'd stay off it and get my camera ready to document the show.
 



Brits to Remake Tacoma Bridge Disaster? | 50 comments (50 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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