Friday, February 17, 2017

W's Not Seeing America's Biggest Boondoggle's Bridges Under Construction

We are coming up on the one year anniversary of America's Biggest Boondoggle's three simple little bridges hitting a construction snag.

Mr. W's above Facebook post generated some illuminating comments regarding Fort Worth's current #1 Embarrassment...

Durango Jones: I keep putting off beating this dead horse yet again, but what with the one year anniversary of the stalled construction of simple, little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island I'm assuming Fort Worth's highly esteemed newspaper of record must be about to publish an expose in a series of articles detailing what has gone wrong with what has become known far and wide as America's Biggest Boondoggle....

Mike Wegner: I'm just dumbfounded at how little attention this has received, the lack of progress, the ongoing road closures, etc. If they can't even build these bridges over dry land, how can they pull off a $1B+ project? Meanwhile, the 'Left Bank' development between Montgomery Plaza and the river is going great guns, hundreds of apt units, Tom Thumb, other retail, etc. But I think that is all independent of the Boondoggle.

Durango Jones: It is all so bizarrely perplexing. I am not even remotely possessing engineer type understanding of constructing anything. But, I look at those V Piers and I do not understand how such would support a bridge deck. Seems like it'd be some sorta perverse teeter totter. And if those bridges ever do get built, over dry land. how does the ditch get engineered to get dug under them without causing problems with the bridge's foundations. It this type thing the real cause of the holdup? As in a legit adult project engineer showed up on site and quickly determined this project design was insane????

Wayneman's Page: 3 unfinished bridges to nowhere, but lies and corruption.

Terri Bednar Wegner: It's a collaborative effort but wonder which entity awarded the design contract to the Fort Worth engineering firm of Freese and Nichols Inc.? And how the $66 million cost is split between the entities? And is there any way to find out since the TRV is not subject to open records law either?

Mary Kelleher: How embarrassing!

Andy Nold: The 2 northernmost piers on Jacksboro highway have a lot of "new" steel in them. The northernmost looks like the rebar is complete. The 2nd one south of that looks about 50% complete. But it looks like they have stopped again. I wonder if they have hit a flaw with the redesigned rebar mat? I'm no civil engineer, but have worked as a civil engineering technician and alongside engineers as a land surveyor.

Bob Lukeman: I'm shocked!!!

In her comment above, Mrs. W referenced a link to an article (Construction on three bridges hits snag) in the Fort  Worth Business Press. That article, among numerous instances of nonsense, repeats what was reported way back when construction ground to a halt, that being that the construction halt should last about a month.

Let's look at and comment about some of the aforementioned instances of nonsense in this Fort  Worth Business Press article...

Construction of the Henderson Street, White Settlement and North Main Street bridges began in 2014 and is still on track to be completed in 2017 and 2018 at a cost of about $74 million.

The construction of these three simple little bridges did not begin in 2014. The embarrassingly stupid TNT exploding bridge ground breaking ceremony, featuring J.D. Granger, his mother and Betsy Price, is all that took place in 2014. I blogged about this explosive 2014 event in A Big Boom Begins Boondoggle Bridge Construction Three Months Late.

The bridges are being constructed over dry land and have been criticized by opponents of the Trinity River Vision project as “bridges to nowhere” because millions of dollars in anticipated federal dollars has yet to be appropriated for the transformative project north of downtown Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth Business Press thinks the construction of these bridges has been criticized by opponents because funds were yet to be appropriated? No. The lack of funding had nothing to do with why opponents were opposing. The opposition  had to do with things like incompetence, bad design, inept implementation. That and the unqualified son of a local congresswoman being hired, at high pay, to  oversee the project for which he had ZERO qualifications, with the result being that the embarrassment has been a boondoggle for years.

Supporters of the project defend the decision to build the bridges over dry land as a cost-saving move.

Anyone who thinks the building of these three simple little bridges over dry land is a cost-saving move is moronic idiot. There will be no water under these bridges (if they ever do get built) until the ditch is dug under them. And until water from the Trinity River is diverted into that ditch. It does not take a trained engineer to realize the actual cost saving measure would be to dig the ditch at the same time the bridges are being built.

The bridges were designed by architect Miguel Rosales and the Fort Worth engineering firm of Freese and Nichols Inc. The signature piece of the design is the V-shaped pier design. The bridges will appear to float about 50 feet above ground, “lightly touching the ground every 220 feet,” according to a statement by Freese and Nichols.

The bridges will appear to float 50 feet above the ground? Lightly touching ground every 220 feet? Look at those V Piers in Mr. W's photo above and see if they look 220 feet apart, 50 feet above the ground. See if you can imagine those V Piers supporting a bridge deck. And has anyone seen the part of the bridge construction where massive foundations were poured deep into the ground?

Why isn't Fort Worth's make believe newspaper of record, the Star-Telegram, investigating the Boondoggle's bridge embarrassment?

Just this morning I read a detailed article in the Seattle Times titled Officials say damage to sewage plant in Discovery Park is catastrophic thoroughly covering what went wrong with a primary treatment plant during a recent Washington storm. The article seemed to cover every aspect of the disaster, what caused it, the damage  done, the effect on Puget Sound, the progress of the repair. The article seemed to be a totally transparent report about a serious issue effecting the public.

And then we have the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, with the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision headquarters occupying the Star-Telegram building's ground floor. One would think it would be easy for Star-Telegram reporters to take the elevator  to the ground floor and not leave until they get answers to a question the Fort Worth public deserves to know.


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