The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 03 December 2018 01:00cat

Mobile Bay bridge cannot withstand another massive typhoon

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I 10 Bridge in Mobile Bay cannot withstand another massive typhoon I 10 Bridge in Mobile Bay cannot withstand another massive typhoon

New evidence released by the government of U.S. suggest that the I-10 bridge over the Mobile Bay would collapse in case of a strong hurricane.

According to the federal report, the bridge is vulnerable and poses a threat for the safety of people. It is explained that during a heavy storm, the bridge connections cannot withstand the impact of high waves while the span is not enough elevated. "We saw with hurricane Katrina 12 feet of water push into the bay and the storm itself made landfall 100 miles away. If we saw a storm of similar magnitude that could be very bad for Mobile Bay," Steven Schultze, Assistant Professor in Earth Sciences at the University of South Alabama.

To address the issues, Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) decided to apply substantial modifications. The bridge's span must rise and change shape in order to reduce the forces provoked by the aforementioned waves while the bridge connections must be re-designed. "ALDOT has already evaluated this option. Due to the cost and risk still associated with bracing old infrastructure, ALDOT determined raising of the Bayway was the most prudent solution. Due to the uncertainty of impacts to the Bayway from potential storm surge, contingency plans cannot be developed. As in the past, any bridge affected by a disaster is expeditiously inspected by our certified bridge inspectors and repairs made so the traveling public can safely pass," Matt Erickson, ALDOT Mobile River Bridge Director stated.

The research points out that people will also be financially affected by the repairs. "State and local governments would also experience loss in potential tax revenue, an estimate of $7,150 and $23,310 per day of bridge disruption," the report said.

The upgrades are estimated to cost $2 billion. Construction work will initiate in 2020 and will last about 7 years. The new construction will be able to resist a heavy typhoon.

Sources: climate report 

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