• December 20, 2014

Reader comments on accident that damaged U.S. 190 overpass

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Posted: Saturday, June 22, 2013 4:30 am

To the Editor:

Recent stupidity caused serious damage to the Clear Creek overpass on U.S. Highway 190 eastbound (when the bed of a dump truck raised up and hit the concrete retaining wall).

Had the truck hit the Willow Springs overpass instead, Killeen may have been in the national news again.

Bridge trusses (those beams you see when passing under) are pre-stressed. Steel plates are set into a form and 1¼-inch wire rope cables are hydraulically drawn taught between the two plates prior to the cement being poured.

TxDOT engineers, in saving time or money, hacked off about one-third of the Willow Springs overpass for the Highway 190 expansion project.

This has allowed the internal cables to go slack within the beams, placing all travelers both over and under the bridge in grave danger. The beams are over 35 years old and brittle. Chopping a third off subjects the whole to fracturing.

In 1976, I was a welder for BF Diamond Construction Co. in Louisiana and we built pre-stressed beams. I’m not an engineer. It looks like a bridge; it is working like a bridge; but is it a bridge or is it a time bomb?

Engineers are a dime a dozen, like doctors. A piece of paper on the wall and we are all impressed.

Is an engineer’s opinion good enough for our safety? We are crossing very thin ice on that bridge over a raging river. Emergency crews are in that area every day for accidents. The clock is ticking.

I’m still an outsider, able to see things people ignore every day, wondering what is wrong with this picture.

A Willow Springs bridge collapse would be a disaster if there were no injuries, as it is the main artery for Fort Hood, Killeen, and all east- and westbound travel.

Lemmings, beware! TxDOT has issues they are sliding past us.

Lahr Parsons

Killeen

 

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