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Concrete In Australia : June 2008
engineer was not even on site. Due to the project falling behind schedule, the asset owner used its vested powers to relieve the original contractor from the erection portion of the contract. The new contractor in charge of erection, and without suffi cient warning and advice on accuracy, encountered similar difficulties erecting span 10-11 as did the previous contractor during the erection of span 14-15. The camber difference between the two half girders for span 10-11 was about 114mm. The new contractor suggested taking out the difference in camber via the use of kentledge as a means of saving time. The contractor provided no supporting calculations to validate the proposal, nor did the designer request such validation prior to permitting the use of kentledge. Due to the ineffective and non concise information exchange, the designer was in no position when allowing the use of kentledge to know whether major overstressing would result. As a subsequent outcome a major buckle developed in the inner upper panel which was a clear indication that partial failure of the structure had occurred. Based on false confidence, having successfully dealt with the buckle on span 14-15, the same procedure of unbolting the transverse splice in the upper fl ange plating, in an attempt to straighten out the buckle, was then carried out. After the removal of several bolts, the buckle in the upper panel extended into the adjacent two outer upper panels. This was then accompanied by the buckling failure of the upper part of the inner web plate. Fifty minutes after the propagation of the buckle into the outer flange plates, total collapse occurred. The insuffi cient exchange of information and breakdown in communication began from the start and continued throughout the project. Had regular and careful inspections of the site with subsequent comments back to the designers taken place by the asset owners, some of the poor communication and consequential effects from this insuffi cient information exchange may not have been so catastrophic. As well, had there been a requirement placed on the designers to provide timely detailed periodical reports, then some of the shortcomings related to the design and erection may have been noticed before the catastrophic fatal collapse occurred. References: 1. Report of Royal Commission into the Failure of West Gate Bridge, presented to both houses of Parliament pursuant to section 7 of the West Gate Bridge Royal Commission Act 1970, No. 7989, by Authority CH Rixon, Government Printer, Melbourne, Victoria, 1971. This article has been adapted by Concrete Institute of Australia from material which originally appeared in Report of Royal Commission into the Failure of West Gate Bridge, presented to both houses of Parliament pursuant to section 7 of the West Gate Bridge Royal Commission Act 1970, No 7989, by Authority CH Rixon, Government Printer, Melbourne, Victoria, 1971, 143pp. Ben Cosson is the Concrete Insitute’s Project Manager Technical Services. He can be contacted at technical@ concreteinstitute.com.au Pipeline Systems | Engineered Structures ph: 1300 361 601 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.humes.com.au Concrete in Australia Vol 34 No 2 25