South Park Bridge: some good news, I think our candidate showed up, plus more on County corruption

I just wanted to say I think we have found a fighter for the bridge, but before I speak about the candidate, I would like to go talk to her first.  I’ll get back to ya’ll.

I have also noticed the county has begun a little astro-turfing of it’s own.  Nobody takes the time to blog, just to say we need to give up.  The county doesn’t have the money for a bridge, but it does for some paid bloggers.  I’ll deal with that also, but later.

There are two things I would like to say.  One, I read the report of the ‘independent’ engineer, Richard Johnson.  He has prepared a careful report, and explained things in terms that are easily understood.  I think he is an honorable and trustworthy man.  However, independent he is not.  I knew this name sounded familiar, since I have worked in the construction trade for 27 years.   Sound like the “Senior Civil Engineering Specialist, City of Seattle” to me!  Hardly independant!  I don’t think it was a bad choice, and I don’t question his integrity one bit.  But the County once again was not up front.  The county also has a way of framing criteria for reports.  Engineers submit bids on a scope of work detailed by the County.  I won’t belabor the point, but it’s a rigged game.


I wan’t to go into more detail, but I don’t have time right now.  One thing the Engineer mentioned, was that the pilings were not driven down to the hardpan.  He did say that 150 piles were driven, and that the North side went through a deeper quantity of material, than the South side.  Part of the theory of pile work, is that there is a bottom load, and there is a side load.  Imagine pushing a stick into heavy mud.  Then picture pulling it out quickly.  The stick doesn’t come out without resistance.  The same is true going in with a pile.  They are hard to drive, because of resistance on the sides.  That side friction carries a lot of weight.  150 piles a lot of weight.  It has been satisfactory for 78 years, why would piles two feet short of hardpan suddenly make any difference now?  But my best point is, this is a bridge built under the engineering supervision of  R H Thomson.  Thomson is the Engineer who built this City.  He was a masterful engineer.  If two feet short of the bottom was good enough for Thomsen, it’s good enough.  As far as the cracks in the concrete, they are ugly, but not in critical areas.   The bridge supports actually sit six feet or so inside of the exterior face of the towers.  The Fremont and other bridges are 20 years older, and have been through quakes too.

Worse case scenario, the bridge gets stuck closed, and a Manson crane has to be called up to lift the bridge up.   At that point it could be held open by cables attached to the bridge.  The idea it may collapse is ridiculous.  An earthquake could cause it to get stuck, but then again, what miserable counties’ first concern after an earthquake, would be toward whether or not a federal waterway was temporarily blocked.  Are boats and fish more important than people?

Last point, and I will document  this later, the county lacks money because they favor tax challenges of  property taxes in high value homes, but deny challenges in moderatly priced homes.  If they would uphold their appraisers assessments on all homes and businesses, they would have enough money.  They also wouldn’t have to raise property taxes, because the lower and middle class wouldn’t have to subsidize their homes.  Think about it.  If you live along a beach road on the water, that accesses only one home on each side of the street, it will cost the municipality far more to maintain roads, sewer and water.  Same goes for alongside a hill or ridge.  The hillside home costs by far the most in County maintanence costs.   Remember the water main breaks that have occurred on hillsides.  They cost millions to repair.  Stop giving tax breaks to the owners of highest priced homes, and you will have money for both roads and bridges.

What kind of a County wants to tear down a bridge???  And a 4 rating? BS.  Tell ya what.  They can tear down the bridge as soon as they finish tearing down the viaduct.  The viaduct is repairable as well,  and this comes from the best engineer in the City.  The viaduct is being torn down to improve the property values of the condo residents along the waterfront.  These people use government to improve their own lives and those of their friends and associates.  What kind of a County tears down a bridge?  40 people a year died on the 1st ave. S bridge, and they didn’t give a crap.  What kind of a County tears down a bridge?

The engineer said it had problems opening, because it had rotated over the years.  Well, a flying buttress can installed, and pressure applied to rotate it back into place.  It can be fixed, but the County has other plans.  It can be repaired well enough, till funds for the new towers are secured.  By the way, the report only found major fault with the north tower.  Ask them what a temporary fix would cost.  Think strapping.

Burnside Bridge in Portland

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