If CA can’t build bridge, what about bullet train through mountains?

If CA can’t build bridge, what about bullet train through mountains?

SF_and_Bay_BridgeIf the state of California can’t build a bridge, how can it handle the huge technological and engineering challenge of building a bullet train through two mountain ranges laced with seismic faults?

Such questions are inevitable after the latest Sacramento Bee report questioning progress on the state’s current big infrastructure project:

An independent report … sharply criticized official tests of high-strength steel rods that secure the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, concluding the analysis was flawed and that some bridge parts should be replaced.

The report said assessments by the California Department of Transportation and its expert advisers – that the bridge is safe and durable – were based on “unscientific” and “erroneous and misleading” evidence.

The critique was authored by Yun Chung, a retired metallurgical engineer who has studied the matter since some threaded rods on the eastern pier of the span snapped in March 2013. Chung said Caltrans’ test protocols, data analysis and conclusions about the reliability of the suspension span “could not be supported.”

Chung proposed replacing most of the suspect bolts and rods with others whose qualities remove vulnerability to cracking.


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  1. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 8 December, 2014, 08:09

    If, and a big IF, the bullet train ever progresses, those engineering and construction technical challenges will be reviewed and scrutinized under a microscope. The result of those public reviews would result in an image for the public of safety concerns that would then negatively impact any potential ridership for decades. In addition, there may not be engineering or construction firms large enough to take on the liability exposure to their firms to take on this “mission impossible”.

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  2. Dork
    Dork 8 December, 2014, 08:12

    What makes you think they actually plan on building this train to nowhere in the first place, from what I have seen so far, it is nothing more than a way to extract Billions of dollars from We the People to be redistributed amongst the Ruling Class and their friends. I have $1000 to your favorite charity that says it will NEVER BE BUILT!! But we will Pay through the Nose for it.

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  3. Timberrrrrr......
    Timberrrrrr...... 8 December, 2014, 08:41

    Just curious whether any of the bridge engineers received their primary education in the LAUSD school system? If so, it could be a case that supports the theory of ‘unintended consequences’.

    IMO the train to nowhere, USA will surpass all peasant impediments and the tracks will get laid. Why? Because it is the will of the ruling class. For it is the ruling class that has so much to gain at the expense of the peasants. Your fragile infrastructure can wait until the next 7.8 earthquake strikes and it all comes tumbling down. Then Prop 31 will get proposed to tax you out of house and home to save California from an apocalyptic meltdown. And based on past performance the odds are that the Californian voters will approve it. That’s just who we are. And that’s why the rest of the nation calls us “the land of fruits and nuts”.

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  4. ricky65
    ricky65 8 December, 2014, 10:44

    A good read Chris. It just makes the whole concept of the Brown Streak HS train even more crazy and implausible. This thing will be an unbelievable engineering disaster and an out of control fiscal train wreck of monumental proportions..
    Consider the above mentioned SF/Bay Bridge disaster. It took twenty years to build and the cost went from $1.3 billion to the current $6.4 billion and still climbing with the demo portion of the old bridge underway. And remember: This was only for the relatively short easterly span of the bridge to Yerba Buena Island-not the entire bridge.
    The disastrous bay bridge project has a direct link to the proposed Brown Streak. Yes, that’s right! Good ol’ Jerry Brown, as mayor of Oakland, complained the bridge would be too plain while another mayoral disaster across the Bay, Willie Brown wanted a signature bridge also. Instead of a rather simple viaduct design the project costs ballooned when after years of the two Brown’s feuding it was decided to build a very expensive curving suspension bridge which we now know was very difficult to build but may also be unsafe.
    All this only confirms my previous allegations that this JB guy is a walking disaster having screwed up every thing he has tried. So too will it be with the Brown Streak.

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