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calendar   Sunday - January 03, 2016

Pull her papers forever

Bridge Killer

Truck Driver Destroys 135 yo Iron Bridge Because She Can’t Do Math



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The Lick Creek bridge located in downtown Paoli, Indian took a tragic fall on Christmas Day when when a 23 year old Semi-truck driver, Mary Lambright thought it was a good idea to take her 43,000 pounds of bottled water across the 100 year old bridge. Lambright who was accompanied by her 17 year old cousin in a leased Penske semi abstained no injuries as the time of the accident. She didn’t get out of the situation easy, the Paoli Police department cited her for overweight on a bridge, disregarding a traffic control device and reckless driving of her tractor-trailer. No one was injured at the time of the collapse

The old iron bridge on South Gospel Street in Paoli was destroyed when a truck driver disregarded the weight and height and drove a load weighing over 43,000 lbs. over it Christmas Day.

According to police, Mary Lambright, 23, of Fredricksburg, Ind., was operating a 2015 Volvo tractor pulling a 53-foot semi-trailer loaded with bottled water when she crossed the bridge at about noon. Authorities estimated the load of water weighed around 43,000 lbs.

As Lambright’s truck entered the bridge, the trailer’s top was ripped off due to its height. She continued across the bridge until the weight of the tractor and trailer caused it to collapse.

The craziest part isn’t that 23-year-old Mary Lambright drove her 30-ton truck onto this tiny bridge in Paoli, Indiana built in 1880. It’s that she knew that the bridge’s weight limit was six tons. She just didn’t know how many pounds that was.

Seriously, that’s what she told the police after the crash on Christmas, as they note in their report:


Ms. Lambright was aware of the iron bridge stating she had driven on it several times in her personal vehicle and was also aware of the posted signage “no semis, weight limit of 6 tons”. When asked by Paoli Police why she continued through the bridge knowing the weight limit was only 6 tons she admitted to not knowing how many pounds that was. She was advised the weight of the vehicle at the time of the crash was close to 30 tons.

Lambright, who got her CDL earlier this year, said she wasn’t comfortable backing up her Volvo truck, so she just chanced it on the bridge.

That bet didn’t exactly pay out.

She knew what the weight limits were, she knew what the clearance was, and if she had the awareness of half a jar of peanut butter she knew damn well her load exceeded both. But screw that, she “wasn’t comfortable” making a U-turn in her truck, so she went and did what she damn pleased. And this antique 8 panel pin-connected Pratt through-truss paid the price. The pity of it all is that the fines she will face are minuscule. A couple hundred bucks total, and that’s about it. And a piece of history is destroyed. [ commenters noted that parts of the bridge had to be cut away to allow the truck’s removal. ]

This nice example of an iron kit bridge - it wasn’t steel in 1880 it was iron - most likely won’t be repaired. Not with iron. And not to it’s original specification. They might rebuild it, but it will get “upgraded” with massive steel floor beams, one-piece giant I beam stringers, and welded chords. In other words, it will sort of look like an old bridge, but have the carrying capacity of something modern. And it won’t really even be a truss bridge anymore. These kit bridges were the real thing; every point where the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal beams came together was on an axle pin. They’re completely flexible structures until they’re complete, at which point they become as stiff as any solid structure. That’s the whole idea behind truss bridges, and it was the pin connected chord variety like this one that expressed that engineering principal most honestly. Welded plate bridges are stronger, and they are truss bridges too, but the flexing takes part in the welded plate itself, which is a little cheat on the pure theory of triangular sectional creation.

Oh, and note the upside down deck truss on the floor beams under the bridge. Very rare. This made the road bed a bit stronger, made the bridge a bit lighter, but most importantly it saved a town a couple of bucks and the need to move some really heavy I beams around. Like I said, these are kit bridges. Order one by mail, and the bridge company builds it for you, numbers all the parts, takes it apart, and ships it to you via rail car. Your local workers put Tab A in Slot B and assemble it, no training needed. And it stays up for 135 years. Or longer. Until the luck runs out.

It occurs to me that we have almost the exact same bridge right here in Hunterdon County. Same size, same age, same builder, same highly rare trussed floor beams. Better condition. It’s a beauty I visit every year. I wonder if theirs was put together using hydraulic rivets like ours was, or if they used hand hammered ones?

Thanks to Rich L for the link.

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/03/2016 at 04:21 AM   
Filed Under: • BridgesStoopid-People •  
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