Skip to comments.Cheaper, faster path led to failure [ Big Dig ]
Posted on 12/24/2006 1:56:20 AM PST by SunkenCiv
Construction engineer John Tsikouras suspected that the salesmen were not telling him the whole story. The men from Newman Associates, a bolt distribution company, approached him in August 1999 and said they wanted his professional advice about a tunnel ceiling that was part of Boston's Big Dig. But Tsikouras said their questions seemed intended to get the Rhode Island engineer's approval rather than his expertise.
Would it be safe to hang the concrete ceiling from 7.5-inch-long bolts? No, Tsikouras said. What if the bolts were 5 inches long instead? "I can ask my mother that one," he replied: Even less safe, obviously. Then, the firm that designed the ceiling sent word through Newman that the ceiling would be far lighter than Tsikouras estimated. Would the bolts be strong enough then? Yes, Tsikouras replied, after making more calculations, "the bolts passed with flying colors."
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
I kind of liked it when I drove through.
I used to be in the nut and bolt biz.
When someone wants to shave points off a bid, that's the first place they look.
If that's cheap and fast, I'd hate to see expensive and slow.
Maybe it had to do with the depth to which it would be anchored.
The panels are not structural, but they create a plenum for the extraction of stale air - that's the rel reason they are needed. They are heavy because they are designed against flutter and movement.
The bolts are imbedded in epoxy filled drilled holes in concrete. The bolts are NOT (as I understand it) j-bolts or other typical embedded bolts.
The bolts are essentially glued into the concrete, and then the panels are hung from them.
This whole idea gives me serious pucker.
Secondly, this story is an attempt by the Boston Globe to shift the blame for the Big Dig fiasco to the engineers and the people who designed the structure.
The Globe does not want to implicate the Unions and the political corruption class in Mass (Democrats).
I lived in Boston in the pre-Big Dig era. Back then, they were estimating the cost of the project (this was in the late 1980's) and a friend of mine who worked for MIT Research Engineering (MITRE) told me the project would cost twenty fold that estimate because it would take place in Massachusetts - a sinkhole of corruption that even people on this board cannot fathom.
Boston and the state saw Federal Dollars gift wrapped in a bow when the project was approved.
Everyone got in line and had their hand out for "their share."
The Union bosses ruled this project from start to finish.
The cost overun on this project is a joke. It cost approximately 14.6 billion to build which puts it at ten times it's estimate. Add cutting corners, major blunders and even death and you get the message. The person who was the project overseer of this fiasco did the worst job imaginable. Had he worked for me he would have been on the outside looking in real quick. No accountability=you're fired! There is just no excuse for this except perhaps greed and the ripping off of the taxpayer. Oh, by the way 60% of the funding came from the federal government (you and me).
msnbc.msn.com/id/3769829/ - Boston's Big Dig finally opens to public is the article
I would have specified steel embedments in the concrete above...and steel embedments in the concrete panels and then specified that a certified welder weld the two together in the field. Then any exposed steel or welds would be covered by a concrete patching crew afterwards...If there were any at all.
Possibly more expensive but thats the way we did it at the company I worked for. Also, as an engineer, I would've had to review all drawings to ensure that the embedments in the tunnel in the one blue print matched up to the embedments in the other blu print for the panel castings.
Very tedious, but at least no one dies.
I would think that the time required to drill holes OVERHEAD in the field to glue the bolts into place would have ate up any savings they could possibly have realized by A: not designeing decent connections, B: not Taken time to place steel embedments and C: not checking for matching locations.
Have you ever personally drilled overhead into concrete??? Unless they had a special rig, it would take a full day for 1 guy to drill holes just for one panel!! Maybe even more time than that.
If someone had designed a connection at the plant I worked for that specified that much field work the prints would never have made it to the production floor. The autocad guys would have sent it right back to the engineer with notes about how stupid engineers are compared to regular working folks...except phrased politely of course.
this is the reason hyannis orcinus wins every election by 85% of the vote, now why lurch wins reelection is still a mystery.
Are you saying that state governments and their agents would commit fraud on the public by obviously manipulating and twisting safety results into an outrageous lie? That's amazing!
BTW, how is national healthcare coming along?
What they should have done is kept the elevated highway in place so that we would have twice the capacity we have now and maybe the tunnel portion could be reserved for those who are just passing through the city. Now that would make a difference.
Speaking of the elevated highway coming down, I thought we were going to have green parks after it was torn down with leafy trees and pedestrian-friendly paths leading to Fanueil Hall and the waterfront? Instead, they have spent two years pouring ugly, thick concrete slabs surrounded by thick wire mesh fences and it is still an absolute nightmare trying to be a pedestrian in that area.
I like that pic. I wish I still knew guys at the department of transportation. I'da sent that to them...they'da loved it.
Looks as if there is plenty of blame to go around. I don't see anyone mentioned in this article who is clean. Any time a project manager is trying to make a name for himself everyone else suffers. Some more than others as we now see. If bolting failed one time in any test I was involved in we would have found out why and corrected the problem. The idea of continuing when a large percentage failed is inviting disaster.
You can't be serious. It achieved it purpose magnificently. Put billions of dollars in the hands of Massachusetts politicians. Your traffic problems were never a consideration.
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