Of Live Load and “Love Load”, Bridges, Bats, and Locks

Parisian bridge collapses under the weight of love

A $24.4 million dollar traffic fine, an 80,000 pound live load that takes off (literally) for 30 minutes every evening, and a structure that stands up well in the face of war, but collapses in the face of love…what do they all have in common?   They all relate to bridges, and the unanticipated loads that they may have to endure.

We know that the job of the engineer is not only to design a structure that safely withstands its anticipated loads, but likewise to accurately anticipate those loads.  A good design may go for naught if it doesn’t suitably consider the possibility of every load that it may eventually experience. Continue reading