Centennial Bridge Roadway Failed Due To Lack of Maintenance

Centennial Bridge Roadway Failed Due To Lack of Maintenance

Tuesday, December 14 2010 @ 01:29 PM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 126
An inspection made by the Road Commission of the Panamanian Society of Engineers and Architects (SPIA) on the road leading to the Centennial Bridge determined that poor maintenance was the cause of its collapse. “This could have been avoided,” said Miriam Tejada de Solis, president of the SPIA, who on Saturday took part in the inspection, along with three other engineers of the Road Commission. According to Solis, they could detect that the road’s storm drains were damaged. According to the experts, this caused the fill slope to fail, due to the constant seepage of water that could have been caused by the lack of functioning storm drains. “Until the water problem is controlled, this situation is always going to be reoccurring,” said Solis, who explained that while the inspection did not have specialized equipment, their experience allows them to diagnose the critical problems observed in the lower part of the access road, where there are bumps and sharp cracks, which caused the roadway to fall apart. She said the collapse was actually a slow process, and the problem has been growing due to a lack of consistent preventative maintenance, inspection, and monitoring, and these are the consequences. The President of the SPIA clarified that the structure of the Centennial Bridge itself is stable, it is not in any danger, and there are no signs of damage to the bridge. In the opinion of the three engineers, the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) should initiate a hydraulic and geological study, because water becomes a threat to this type of construction.

For her part, Marisol Acosta, of the Department of Inspection of the organization, said the MOP made a geological survey of the ground of the ramp leading to the Centennial Bridge. (Panama America)

Editor’s Comment: The roadway leading to the bridge was built over landfill – dirt and rocks trucked in an dumped to fill the gap between the existing land (rocks) and the bridge. It seems obvious, even to me, that you would not want to have clogged runoff drains and large amounts of rainwater running under the road and through the dirt fill. Because, obviously, eventually it’s going to erode away, right? “Maintenance” is still a dirty word in Panama. Panamanians are famous for not maintaining anything – just ride it until it fails, and then fix it. That’s the way they do it here. Seriously.