Dallas Bridge Margaret McDermott Eliminates Testing to Save Money

Margaret Mcdermott Bridge Construction
Margaret Mcdermott Bridge Construction

Photo by Art Davis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons 

Safely Pour Concrete Under Any Weather Conditions

The leading concrete sensor for real-time temperature and strength monitoring

The Margaret McDermott Dallas Bridge over the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas was intended to replace the I-30 bridge built in the late 50s to early 60s. The bridge cost over $100 million to build and features a design resembling a suspension bridge. The part of the bridge designed for pedestrians and cyclists was supposed to open in 2017, but it remains closed. Now, it is going to take two more years and $7 million dollars more before pedestrians will be allowed to use the bridge.  

Why did this disastrous result happen? The simple answer is a lack of bridge testing. In order to lower costs, the hike and bike bridges used value engineering to cut costs by $3 million. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, value engineering is “the process of reducing the cost of producing a product without reducing its quality or how effective it is.” However, in this case, an important cable testing was skipped to save $30,000, despite the fact that strong winds are predominant in this area. After the cables were attached, heavy winds caused them to vibrate and twist, which caused several cable anchor rods to crack and fail (The Dallas Morning News). 

This issue has created a lengthy back-and-forth between the architect (Santiago Calatrava), city officials, and the Texas Department of Transportation. There is a lot of finger pointing when it comes to who is to blame for putting off proper testing. Calatrava states they pushed the city of Dallas to do the proper testing and even offered to front the costs, but it was not done.  Still, officials at City Hall and the Texas Department of Transportation have put the blame back on Calatrava. 

For now, the two cable-stayed structures of the Margaret McDermott Dalla Bridge system remain closed as no one is willing to certify that they are safe for use. Clearly, the $30,000 saved by skipping bridge testing did not pay off, and ended up costing the city way more than they planned for.  

Lessons Learned  

Photo of iCOR being used on concrete

When it comes to bridge testing, do not cut corners. Investing in a thorough, accurate method of testing can save you money and stress in the long run. Furthermore, after the bridge is built, do not forget to continue testing for damage and deterioration. Options for bridge testing include: visual inspection, acoustical techniques, infrared/thermal imaging inspection, coring and chipping, and ground-penetrating radar (GPR). If you are looking for a non-destructive technique to detect the rate of corrosion in your structure, check out our award-winning device iCOR®. This tool uses our patented Connectionless Electrical Pulse Response Analysis (CEPRA) technology to perform three-in-one concrete testing measurements of: rebar corrosion rate, half-cell potential, and in-situ electrical resistivity. Finally, if you need to conduct a half-cell potential test according to ASTM C876, check out XCell™

Click here for an analysis of each of the testing methods mentioned! 

Sources 

Cambridge Dictionary

NBCDFW

D Magazine

The Dallas Morning News

*Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Use These Tech Tools for More Efficient Cold Weather Concreting

Let’s dive into our sensors in detail.   Safely Pour Concrete Under Any Weather Conditions The leading concrete sensor for real-time temperature and strength monitoring Learn More SmartRock Sensors:    SmartRock is a wireless concrete sensor designed for temperature and strength monitoring with the ability to record real-time temperature data for every 15-minute interval for 2 months and comes with remote-monitoring capabilities. It is fast, simple, designed rugged and waterproof, and can be activated and installed hassle-free. The sensor contains two points of temperature measurements located in the sensor cable and body, and comes with an extended temperature cable and probe for mass…

Everything You Need to Know About Pouring Concrete in Winter

Winter is coming! Worried about the cold weather concreting that comes with it in the construction industry? We’ve got it covered with Giatec’s SmartRock sensors.  Keep reading to learn more.  Safely Pour Concrete Under Any Weather Conditions The leading concrete sensor for real-time temperature and strength monitoring Learn More The temperature is dropping, the days start to get shorter, and frost covers the ground. While it may be exciting to imagine a festive winter season, that is not what comes to mind when working in the construction industry. Especially, when you have a project to complete, a schedule to maintain, and a desired concrete temperature and…

Giatec’s Unique Concrete Knowledge Resources

The Giatec Scientific website is a treasure trove of concrete knowledge, ranging from blogs and case studies to podcasts and videos! Find a few of our exclusive resources below: Safely Pour Concrete Under Any Weather Conditions The leading concrete sensor for real-time temperature and strength monitoring Learn More Giatec’s Concrete Terminology Search Bar Need a one-stop destination for searching definitions for a plethora of terms related to concrete knowledge? Make sure to check out our concrete terminology search bar! To search for a term related to…

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience, analyze site traffic and assist in our marketing efforts. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy Page.