Letters to the Editor

February 13, 2014

Otis M. Hutchinson: Weight adds cost to bridges

Having been involved in highway structures for 42 years, both in construction and design, I feel that your article “Caltrans misses some spots” (Feb. 10, Page B1) needs some clarification. These spots were omitted, not missed.

Having been involved in highway structures for 42 years, both in construction and design, I feel that your article “Caltrans misses some spots” (Feb. 10, Page B1) needs some clarification. These spots were omitted, not missed.

I believe the potholes that raised a question from an inquisitive reader are not in the deck of a structure (bridge or an under-crossing), but possibly in the approaches. From my experience, the elimination of asphalt concrete (AC) on decks of structures is done to conserve weight – not for financial reasons. Depending on the design, if there were to be additional weight placed on the decks, there is a possibility these structures would have to be strengthened – that is where the money lies.

At the Atwater overhead structures, for instance, the “deck on deck,” where a new concrete deck was placed over the existing deck, it was necessary to pre-stress or strengthen the existing steel girders. That was an expensive operation.

OTIS H. HUTCHINSON

Merced

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