Today’s the last TMQ of the season!
No more “cosmic thoughts”!
The readers will cheer and the blogger will shout!
And we’ll all feel happy after the last TMQ of the year…
Archive for the ‘Bridges’ Category
Today’s the last TMQ of the season!
Likewise, the A/V Club is operating on holiday time: they did publish a nice obit for Jack Klugman, but have not gotten around to Charles Durning yet. (Edited to add: the A/V Club’s obit for Durning is up now.)
On the night after Christmas 40 years ago, two buses carved a thin line across the vast blackness of the New Mexico plains. They carried 58 young people and seven chaperones from Woodlawn Baptist Church in South Austin, the passengers still reveling in the merry holiday glow, en route to a religious retreat and skiing in the eastern New Mexico mountains.
19 people were killed when one of the buses crashed. 16 of them were teenagers. This is one of those bits of Austin history that I was previously unaware of; I commend the Statesman story (and the sidebar about how horrible the highway bridge was) to your attention.
At least 90% of the time (if not more), when someone tells me “you shouldn’t burn bridges”, that person has just finished pouring gasoline all over the structure in question, and is now standing in the middle of the bridge flicking their Zippo.
I wouldn’t ordinarily make note of the five guys arrested for conspiring to blow up a bridge in Ohio. Terrorist plots are a dime a dozen these days, and it seems that many of them turn out to be a bunch of losers who couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery without help from undercover FBI agents.
But I’ve noted before that I have family in the Cleveland area. Some of them live in Sagamore Hills, and I’ve driven over the Ohio 82 bridge many times while visiting them.
Here’s what that bridge looks like in Google Maps satellite view:
And here’s your Google Image Search results for the Ohio 82 bridge. It is a nice looking bridge, I have to admit.
Frankly, yeah, I can see eating tiger shrimp. The Asian Carp…well, it makes me think of the old joke about how to prepare carp. (Nail it to a board, prop it in front of a fire until one side turns black, turn the board over and wait until the other side turns black, then throw the fish away and eat the board.) I’m not a big chili fan, but nutria bourguignon could be interesting. And as for feral hogs, let me just say two words: feral bacon.
This one goes out to Andrew: how to replace a bridge in a weekend, instead of months.
The lawsuit is asking a judge to order that everybody who bought the books be refunded. Whatever money is left over would go to a humanitarian organization selected by the plaintiffs’ attorneys and approved by the court.
Would it shock you to learn that one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs was also involved in the James Frey lawsuit?
The Texas Department of Transportation is closing the ramp from northbound 183 to southbound Loop 1 this coming weekend. The closure is supposed to start at 9 PM Friday, and run until 5 AM Monday.
TXDOT does have a pretty good reason for the closure; they’re repairing a section of the highway damaged in a horrible tanker truck accident/explosion last fall.
The Texas Department of Transportation has been building a couple of additional “flyover” connections down south of town; specifically, at the intersection of Loop 1 (also known locally as “MoPac”) and U.S. Highway 290.
Unfortunately, TXDOT contracted with Wiser Construction, a company based in Nevada. (The Statesman says Wiser is based in Las Vegas, but all the business addresses I found for them are in Moapa, which is about 55 miles away according to Google Maps.)
Why is that unfortunate? Because Wiser Construction declared bankruptcy last week and walked off the job, leaving the flyovers uncompleted. (A search of the two Las Vegas newspapers turned up nothing about this bankruptcy.)
Edited to add 7/19: Here’s a link to another Statesman story. If you look at both that story, and the blog post I linked to yesterday, neither one currently contains any mention of bankruptcy. (The Statesman blog post appears to have been revised sometime after my original post.)
A bond insurance company informed TxDOT’s Austin office Monday in a letter that Wiser Construction Co. would not complete the $8.4 million job, said Tim Weight, TxDOT’s Austin district director of construction. The letter did not explain why the Las Vegas company was quitting the project, Weight said.
The planned closure of I-35 at Ben White/Texas 71 this weekend is still on.
Even better, the Texas Department of Transportation is also planning to close I-35 the weekend of March 4th as well. Yes, that’s two weekends in a row.
Next to come, [TXDOT spokesman John] Hurt said, will be various weeknight closures for the construction of flyovers linking eastbound Ben White to southbound I-35 and northbound I-35 to eastbound Ben White.
…installing beams for the flyover linking northbound I-35 to westbound Ben White will once again require weekend closures of the I-35 main lanes, Hurt said. It is unclear when that work will occur or how many weekends might be involved.
Is there any good news?
That would be just in time for the start of the UT football season. Anybody think that’s a coincidence?
Does anyone have any first-hand reports from this weekend’s closure they’d care to post? I tried to stay as far away from I-35 as I could; I saw one report in the Statesman of 15-minute delays at that intersection, but someone close to WCD stated they’d heard the delay was more like an hour.
The Texas Department of Transportation is doing some work this weekend at the intersection of Interstate 35 and Ben White Boulevard (aka Texas 71). Specifically, they’ll be working on some new flyovers in that area. I would embed a Google Maps image here, but apparently WordPress 3.0.4 has a bug with embedding iFrames. You can try clicking here.
Anyway, what does this mean to you, Al Franken? TXDOT is closing the entire freeway from “late Friday evening to early Monday morning”. Yes, you read that right, the entire freeway. They’re diverting traffic onto the access road:
The frontage road traffic lights at Ben White (Texas 71) will be on permanent green during the 50-hour plus diversion, meaning that the regular I-35 traffic will be able to move on through without stopping. But given that I-35 has three northbound lanes and three southound lanes in this section, there will be 33 percent less capacity for about a mile and all of those cars will have to exit and then re-enter the main lanes.
If I lived in the area, I’d stock up on popcorn. This is going to be better than the zoo and the circus combined. As for the rest of us, I think staying far away from I-35 for the duration is the best course of action.
I haven’t found any good photos of the actual structural cracks yet, but I’ll update this post if I do.