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September 25: Interstate 43 bridge failure in Green Bay, Wisconsin.


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September 25, 2013 @ 16:30 Hours CDT /// Posting this information for friends and relatives in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan who use Interstate 43 near Green Bay. Wisconsin:


Today we have had a major bridge failure locally. The Interstate 43 bridge over the Fox River has had at least one of the support piers settling in the past 10 hours and this has caused a structural sag of over 30 inches across all 4 lanes of the bridge. This has bent and weakened the steel support structure and road surface of the bridge. The bridge is closed indefinitely and while detours are in place, it will be a traffic nightmare for months to come. There were 40,000 vehicles per day using that bridge.


Click for Details: http://www.jsonline.com/news/traffic/i-43-bridge-in-green-bay-closed-after-dip-reported-b99106394z1-225168872.html

WISDOT engineers stated late today, that it looks as if at least the one pier and many hundreds of feet of bridge will possibly have to be replaced. If this pier settles another 30 inches, the sag will reach the break point of the steel substructure and rivets - and could potentially fracture and collapse that section.




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Thursday morning update:


The massive supprting pier settled approximately 34 inches from around 9 PM Tuesday to 4:50 AM Wednesday... Between 4:15 AM and 4:50 AM Wednesday, the local 911 center received several calls from drivers about it - the last driver to call in said that it was so bad that the dual wheels on the back of his semi got airborne as he went over the leading edge. Everyone made it across OK before the bridge was shut down by authorities at 4:52 AM Wednesday.

An independent structural engineer contradicted the State's engineer. The State maintains that there is no risk of collapse - while the independent engineer said that if the pier holding that portion of the bridge sinks 24 more inches, the vertical and lateral loads on the Japanese supplied steel that is supporting the bridge in that 400 foot section will exceed the ratings of the steel and the shear point of the rivets and it could in fact collapse.

The next news conference is later today (Thursday) and at that time it expected that they will announce that a 600 foot section of the bridge will have to be completely removed, existing piers removed, new pilings driven down to bedrock (if they can find any this time), new piers constructed and then new steel and road surface support structures installed... about a year for demo and construction.  The problem is that this community does not have a proper city street detour in place at the moment to allow semi's to make corners properly and until proper signage and alternate routes can be developed, the car and truck crashes will be much higher than usual.  We also have days with dense fog in the mornings this time of year with visibilities at 100 feet or less... and this will also hamper travel and increase accidents during this time of "driver education" as to the new cross town routes.

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