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Silver Bridge Collapse Memorialized with Mural

Friday, December 14, 2018

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A mural memorializing the 51st anniversary of the collapse of the Silver Bridge, located in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is to be dedicated this weekend.

Stress corrosion cracking has been named as one of the culprits behind the collapse, which occurred in 1967, killing 46 motorists. SCC occurs when a corrosive environment and stress both impact a susceptible material, leading to structural damage.

Silver Bridge Collapse

The Silver Bridge, a eyebar-chain suspension structure built in 1928, was called such due to the color of its aluminum paint. The American Bridge Company, the firm responsible for building the bridge, used eyebars instead of steel wire, which was used in other famous structures like the Golden Gate Bridge. According to Timeline, the eyebars used in the project were long steel plates, ending in loops that allowed 11-inch pins to join them to the next section of eyebar. The eyebars also bore the weight of the vertical supports that held up the bridge deck beneath.

Other eyebar bridges, such as the Three Sisters in Pittsburgh, are shorter and used up to eight eyebars per section. In contrast, the Silver Bridge only used two.

According to West Virginia Public Broadcasting, inspections later revealed that the bridge had been poorly maintained, and was often subject to supporting more weight than it was designed to. The collapse attracted national attention, leading to concerns over bridge safety and contributing to the creation of the National Bridge Inspection Program, which calls for bridge inspections every two years.

During last year’s memorial, which marked the 50th anniversary of the collapse, Billings and Mason County Commission President Tracy Doolittle announced that a mural would be painted on a flood wall where the Silver Bridge once stood.

Mural Memorial

Before the dedication, river bed rock will be installed at the bottom of the mural to prevent people from parking too close to the mural. River pebbles will also be added within the perimeter of bed rock. Future plans also include the addition of lights to emphasize the artwork.

Stantec Consulting Surfaces Incorporated, David Tarr of Holdings LLC, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the West Virginia American Society of Civil Engineers all contributed financial donations to the endeavor. The dedication is scheduled for Dec. 15.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Historic Structures; Infrastructure; Murals; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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