When Construction Goes Wrong

construction

For every incredibly impressive construction project out there, there is one that wasn’t quite as successful. Construction isn’t a field of work that is always plain sailing. Here are some examples of what happens when construction goes wrong.

The Quebec Bridge

This particular Canadian bridge collapsed for the first time in 1907 and then again in 1916. The disaster, involving the largest (at the time) Cantilever bridge globally, killed 88-89 workers.

The first time the bridge collapsed there were people working on the Cantilever arm. Almost 55 people were reported dead due to debris or drowning.

The bridge then saw some improvements, with the use of lower chords for the Cantilevers that were stronger than before. This didn’t stop disaster from occurring again, however. Then central span of the bridge crumbled and killed 13 workers just 9 years after it last collapsed.

The St. Francis Dam

The Californian dam was intended to meet the demands of residence of Los Angeles as the city expanded rapidly in the 1920s. American-Irish Civil engineer, William Mullholland embarked on the job, designing and overseeing the entire construction himself.

2 years after completion, warnings of leakage and cracks began to occur. Mullholland dismissed these warnings.

In 1928, Mullholland inspected the dam. A mere 2 hours later the dam burst and killed over 450 people.

The Tacoma Bridge Collapse

This Washington bridge collapsed in 1940 after strong winds reached 40mph in the area in which it stood. The towers, which were made up of strong carbon steel, were not strong enough to protect the bridge from the fierce winds. The collapse was not as deadly as the previously mentioned disasters, although it did cause the death of a dog and a loss of $6.4 million.

The Hyatt Regency Hotel’s Walkway Collapse

The Hyatt Regency Hotel situated in Kansas City suffered an incredibly horrendous fate when two vertical walkways collapsed in the lobby in 1981. The incident took the lives of 114 people and was considered the deadliest in the history of America at the time.

The engineers involved with the design of the walkways were charged with misconduct and gross negligence, as well as losing their engineering license.

The Johnstown Flood

In 1889, Johnstown Pennsylvania was popular for steel production. In the prime of its prosperity, the town endured a disaster created by heavy rain and the neglect of a dam.

A devastating 2209 lifes were lost.

Later research suggested that the South Fork Dam was poorly maintained and extreme pressure from Lake Conemaugh caused the dam to crumble. The tragic occurrence had a price tag of $17 million in damages.

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