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Greenies and Socialists cause bridge collapse

August 14th, 2010 at 04:49pm

The RiotACT brings word that the Gungahlin Drive Extension’s 2nd stage bridge, which is currently under construction, has collapsed on to the Barton Highway.

Thankfully nobody has been seriously hurt. One person was trapped and had to be freed with up to ten people being taken to hospital. (Update: In one breath the Emergency Services Agency says that there were no serious injuries, and in the next says that “The injuries range from limb to suspected spinal”. That sounds pretty serious to me.)

I’m sorry, but I can’t mince words here. Regardless of what may or may not have happened on-site, I have no doubts that the people ultimately to blame for this ar e the loopy greenies and socialists from Save The Ridge, the very people who caused delays and massive budget blowouts in the original GDE construction, which effectively prevented the second lane each way from being built at the time. If it weren’t for these people, the bridge in question would have been built at least a couple years ago, and would therefore have not collapsed during construction today.

“But it could have collapsed back then!” you say? Well, no, I don’t agree. Data from Darren Giles’ Gungahlin Weather Centre (which is closer to the bridge collapse than the Bureau’s airport measuring devices) shows that over the last few years we have had:
2006: 366.8 mm of rain
2007: 499.0 mm of rain
2008: 503.2 mm of rain
2009: 390.2 mm of rain
2010: 328.8 mm of rain to the end of yesterday (225 days of the year, which once extrapolated to a full year gives us 533.39 mm.

This makes this year our wettest of the years in which construction has been undertaken on the GDE. Rain can severely affect the integrity of setting concrete, and it is reasonable to say that, had the bridge been built in a previous year, it would have had less chance of being adversely affected by rain. Therefore, the delays caused by Save The Ridge are to blame for this bridge collapse.

Just another reason why we can’t let people like this be in charge of important infrastructure projects.


Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories,Samuel's Editorials

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  • 1. nbrettoner  |  August 15th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I totally agree.

  • 2. capedcanberran  |  August 16th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    There are a number of flaws with the argument you’ve presented. The largest one is attributing the bridge collapse to annual rainfall. There is no evidence as yet that rainfall was a contributing factor in this case; and if it was, it’s unlikely that the rainfall should not be considered in the most basic of engineering risk management plans. Your projected “533.39mm” of rain is very little more than the “499.0mm” recorded in 2007. In that year, did all/more of the bridges being built in Canberra collapse than other years? No? Well then, where’s the magic number… does 505mm of rain in a year cause all/more bridges built to collapse? 530mm?

    Rainfall doesn’t *increase* the chance of engineering failure per se. I suspect that poor risk management, insufficient drainage, cutting costs, or poor quality materials are FAR more likely to contribute to engineering failure than “average annual rainfall” in an area.

    There are other problems with your arguments, but rather than listing them I’m going to encourage you to read this web page: Understanding these common fallacies of argument will help you build stronger cases in future – ones less likely to suffer collapse in *any* climatic conditions. πŸ™‚

  • 3. Samuel  |  August 17th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Welcome capedcanberran, sorry about the delay in getting your comment online. I’ve published your second version and taken the “this is a correction” (or similar line) out of the end of it for you.

    On to your argument. One of the highest profile collapses in recent times was in Civic on October 27, 2008 which, as noted above, is the year which had the second highest rainfall rate since 2006 inclusive.

    I’m not saying that large amounts of rainfall necessarily means construction work will fail. What I’m saying is that it increases the risk of construction failure. Obviously this doesn’t make the people responsible for the construction immune from blame, but it does at least help to explain part of the problem.

    My point is that, had the construction of the second set of bridges been allowed to go ahead as part of the 2006-early 2008 GDE construction, which almost certainly would have happened if the cuckoo people hadn’t wasted everyone’s time protesting about it, then this bridge would have been much less likely to collapse.

    Of course if you want to talk about the possibility of it being a “rushed job” etc, then I invite you to look at the people who commissioned the work…the Stanhope government. It was no surprise to me that, after ages of traffic chaos from the original GDE construction works, everything was running smoothly for a couple months in the lead-up to the ACT election, allowing the Stanhope government to point at this mightily insufficient one-lane each way road and say “oh look, less gridlock, how wonderful we are”.

    At the current rate, this wondrous administration is predicting completion of this stage of the GDE by early next year. The bridge collapse will probably set them back a bit, but when you think about the timing of this, it’s very hard to escape the feeling that the dates for the construction work were designed to maximise traffic delays in the middle of the government’s term, and provide a decent amount of flowing traffic in the run-up to the election.

    Admittedly, the next ACT election is not until 2012, but when I think about the extraordinary amount of roadworks that were conducted in this, the middle of the government’s term, I just can’t help but feel that the planned timing of all the roadworks is designed to increase the Stanhope government’s chances of re-election.

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying that the government planned the bridge collapse…I’m saying that if you want to look at the possibility of the construction work being rushed, then you have to look at the Stanhope government’s timeline for the roadworks.

  • 4. capedcanberran  |  August 18th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for the warm welcome. πŸ™‚ Great blog by the way, it can be hard to sustain blogging and you’ve done a tremendous job.

    The thing is, correlation does not equal causation. If a building collapsed in 2008 when it was a wet year, and a bridge collapsed in 2010 when it was a wet year, it doesn’t automatically mean “heavy rainfall causes engineering failures” (or even contributes to them). That is a bit like arguing that because we had Job Stanhope as Chief Minister during both building collapses that “Jon Stanhope causes engineering failures”. πŸ™‚

    Oh… okay, I think you ARE arguing that. Um. But replace “Jon Stanhope” with “an even-numbered year” you get my point: just because things happened together doesn’t mean that one necessarily influenced the other in any way (it’s possible, but needs to be proven specifically and separately).

    So the argument that building the bridge a few years ago may have prevented this collapse from happening isn’t really very strong. I’m with you that it would have made a LOT more sense in EVERY way to have done it all at once. But I just don’t think there’s a reasonable causation between the delay in construction, the chance wet weather we’ve been having, and the bridge collapsing, to attribute specific blame to a particular individual, group, or groups. πŸ™‚

    The timing of all of the darned roadworks happening at the moment may possibly be politically inspired, but that’s probably a separate issue to the bridge collapse, so I’ll leave that can of worms for another day. πŸ™‚


August 2010

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