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The I-35W Mississippi River bridge

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Anik Rahman

on 27 November 2013

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Transcript of The I-35W Mississippi River bridge

Case Study: I-35W Mississippi bridge collapse
Discussion : Thinking Like an Engineer
Ethics - Kant's Formalism
Engineers have a duty to ensure the safest result possible.
Through not replacing the bridge/ not repairing in a safe manner it shows that this duty was not followed
Ethics - Mill’s Utilitarianism
A maximum benefit should be delivered to a maximum number of people
This did not happen for it caused a bridge failure and displaced much traffic and damaged many lives
Analysis of the case study
Technical issues that led to the downfall of the bridge includes:
Undersizing of Gusset Plates connecting members of the bridge
Renovations occurred that decreased the strength of the bridge and added extra weight
Bridge was inspected many times and almost failed inspections (Subramanian (2008))
What does thinking like an engineer mean?
Always be aware of society's well-being
Think rationally
Have a problem solving mentality

The main reasons why the bridge collapsed are:
Structural Deficient
Inadequate Rigorous Inspections
Insufficient Responsibilities

"An engineer is in the position of having to trade on safety concern for another."
---Ethics Code
The way to minimize the risk is continual self improvement through improve in:

Technological Knowledge
Communication and
“When you want to know how things really work, study them when they're coming apart.”
― William Gibson
Thank You!
Presentation Contents
Introduction and background
Technical and ethical analysis
Engineer values and principles
Recommendations for future
Case study background - I35W Bridge
Location: Interstate 35W across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.
Built: from 1964 to 1967
Collapsed: August 1st, 2007
Material used: steel
Length: 575 meters
8 lanes of traffic transportation &
150,000 vehicles passing everyday
Background of the failure
Started at the center of the structure during a rush hour
Damaging about 100 vehicles
Causing over 100 injuries and 13 deaths
Error - Technical - Gusset plates
Error- Ethical - Decision making
Society's Well-being
Given a "structural deficient" rating in 1990 and 2005.
Given a 'Sufficiency rating’ of 50 out of 100 in 2005
Only 4% of bridges were given this low a rating at this time
Rational Thinking
4427 bridges were given the same or lower 'sufficiency rating’
The bridge was due for replacement in 2020-2025
The cost to rebuild the bridge would have been high
The replacement bridge was designed in September of 2007
The Saint Anthony Falls Bridge finished and opened in September of 2008
The bridge won countless awards for it's excellent engineering design and construction
Full transcript