PaintSquare.com


The First Word in Protective & Marine Coatings

A Product of Technology Publishing / PaintSquare
JPCL | PaintSquare News | Durability + Design | Paint BidTracker

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Troubled Viaduct Develops New Cracks

Friday, March 14, 2014

More items for Program/Project Management

Comment | More

New cracks discovered on a seismically unstable double-deck highway in Seattle warrant a closer look, transportation officials say.

A recent inspection of the Alaskan Way Viaduct revealed new cracks in the 61-year-old elevated road's girders and supports, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced Monday (March 10).

WSDOT says the road is still safe, but the new cracks, along with the movement and widening of existing ones, have prompted bridge engineers to schedule a follow-up, "in-depth" inspection on March 22. 

Alaskan Way Viaduct
Photos: Flickr / WSDOT

Since the 6.8-magnitude 2001 Nisqually earthquake, WSDOT has been working to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The structure is inspected four times a year.

"While the viaduct remains safe for travel, engineers need a second inspection to gather more information about the cracks before they can make repairs," WSDOT stated. 

13 Years of Cracking

Built in 1953, the Alaskan Way Viaduct carries SR 99 along Seattle's waterfront and sees about 110,000 vehicles per day. 

The viaduct, as well as its supporting Alaskan Way Seawall, was damaged in the 6.8-magnitude Nisqually earthquake in 2001.

After the earthquake, sections of the viaduct sunk several inches, and WSDOT quickly stabilized the structure. But if the earthquake had lasted a few moments longer, engineers said it would have collapsed. 

The cracks were most likely caused by additional settlement from the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, Seattlepi.com reported

WSDOT viaduct cracks

The discovery of new cracks, as well as the widening of existing ones, warrants an extra inspection, WSDOT says.

Ever since the earthquake, the viaduct "requires constant maintenance and attention to stay in service," WSDOT says, which is why the agency inspects it four times per year.

During the March 22 inspection, WSDOT says it will conduct an in-depth evaluation of the area, perform tests to determine how the cracks respond to heavy loads on the viaduct, and look for other issues. 

Engineers will also install monitoring devices on the columns to keep an eye on how the cracks grow and move over time. The data will be used to identify potential repairs, which may include injecting epoxy into the cracks, according to WSDOT. 

Moving Underground

The cracked section of the viaduct is located a little over a half-mile north of the massive SR 99 tunneling machine, Bertha. The tunnel is being built in order to take the viaduct out of service "before the next significant earthquake," according to WSDOT. 

Although the agency has not officially determined the cause of the cracks, it says they are not related to the tunneling work. 

Bertha, the world's largest tunneling machine, started digging July 30, 2013. However, work has been stalled since December after an issue with the machine's seal system. 

Bertha tunneling machine

Bertha, the world's largest tunneling machine, is being used to dig a tunnel underneath Seattle to replace the seismically unstable viaduct.

The new, two-mile-long tunnel is expected to open by the end of 2015. 

Half of the viaduct has already been demolished and replaced.

The other half has an automated closure system that WSDOT installed in 2011. If the system's earthquake monitoring device detects significant ground movement, it will simultaneously lower all nine traffic gates and close the viaduct within two minutes. 

The viaduct replacement projects are estimated to cost $3.1 billion. 

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Cracking; DOT; Inspection; Roads/Highways; Tunnel

Comment from Dennis Justice, (3/14/2014, 5:07 PM)

Should have built the suspension bridge...


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

SAFE Systems, Inc.
Custom blast rooms
by SAFE Systems

Don't waste time and money "making do" with a "standard" design. Let us work with you to design and build the
system that best fits
your requirements.
Call 1-800-634-7278


Minerals Research & Recovery

HIGH PERFORMANCE ABRASIVES


“Made in the USA!”

Why recycle waste from other countries? Go FASTER, CLEANER, at 1/3 THE COST with MR&R “All-American” Sharpshot®HP!!

WATCH THE VIDEO


Termarust Technologies
Termarust (HR CSA) Chemically Stops
Active Corrosion

Pipeline Utility Aerial crossings coated since 1992. Termarust's (HR CSA) was used to overcoat lead paint and preserve cables, pipes and support towers.


Absolute Equipment/Grand Rental Station
Portable Power from Absolute Equipment

•Compressors
•Lighting Systems
•Generators
•Light Compaction
Sales • Rental • Service
Call 1-866-931-6655
Over a century of
providing excellence.


Abrasives Inc.
See the difference immediately Black Magic®

Quality blast abrasive goes farther. Use Black Magic® The Tough Stuff coal slag. Cleaner, consistent, less dust. Order yours today!
Abrasives Inc. 800-584-7524


Thermion Inc
Buy Back Program

We are offering $5,000
credit for your old Model
This drive system is
being discontinued by
the manufacturer.
More information at
thermioninc.com
877.884.3428


U.S. Zinc

The proven corrosion protection properties of our zinc dust prolong the life of marine coatings. U.S. Zinc – Helping the world work™

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker JPCL Europe

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2014, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com