lunes, 9 de febrero de 2015

A Tale of Two Bridges

With thousands of bridges in New York State deemed structurally deficient, there are two choices: repair or rebuild. The Tappan Zee Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge are the latest examples.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions about it. The activity is suitable for intermediate 2 students.

1 What does '100,000' refer to?
2 What does '1,800s' refer to?
3 What did bridges change?
4 How many vehicles on average crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge every day back in 2010?
5 What's the rate of accidents in the Tappan Zee Bridge?
6 What decision has been made with the Tappan Zee Bridge?
7 What added difficulty does repairing the Brooklyn Bridge entail?
8 Once a bridge is built, what three factors do the authorities have to take into consideration?

The biggest threat to the safety of the travelling public today are these bridges.
We got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare (1).
Should we just keep pouring money into them or maybe we should think about building some new bridges.
Water keeps us alive. The subways all takes us back and forth to work, but the bridges is the outward appearance of what connects us.
In the mid 1800’s travel in New York City was very, very difficult (2). There were these, these quiet little bergs that people never moved from in their whole lifetime. It would have stayed like that, it would have never been very interesting. It never could’ve been New York the way we know it now without these bridges. It changed the whole social perspective. It moved whole groups of people out of slums, which would change their economic life people they could work in one place and live in another (3). The truth is that nowhere only becomes a somewhere when the bridge opens and people run across the bridge.
Behind me is the old Tappan Zee Bridge. It carries a lot more traffic than when it was built back in 1955. At times you can see the river through the cracks and the pavement. I’m not an engineer but I figure that’s not good.
Hey, how’s everybody doing tonight? In 2010 an average of 138,000 vehicles (4) crossed the existing Tappan Zee Bridge every day, but it was only designed to handle up to 100,000 maximum, so it’s well over what they call its design capacity.
'Cause I hear things, I hear things, I don’t like what I hear when I cross that bridge.
No, they’re monitoring that very carefully, very carefully.
Every time I cross I go, please don’t let it be the last time!
The existing Tappan Zee Bridge has no emergency break-down lanes, no shoulders and double the average accident rate of the entire New York state (5) through-way system. And it has had about 750 million dollars in repairs over the last decade or so, and it just got too expensive to maintain it, and the decision was made to replace the bridge (6). This is an enormous project. 3.9 billion dollars. It is the largest single infrastructure contract in the history of New York State.
This will have mass transit capability, emergency break-down lanes, dedicated express bus lanes, even a bike and pedestrian pathway on it.
I think the Tappan Zee Bridge is going to be a sensation when it opens because Cable State Bridge is a very, very beautiful bridge. It’s almost the bridge ‘du jour’ of the century.
The Brooklyn Bridge serves the human soul of New York and the world. It is New York’s icon.
If somebody asked me, would you tear down the Brooklyn Bridge I would tell them they were crazy. It’s New York. It’s who we are. Think about the history of that bridge, it was built for trolleys and horses and buggies. Now are putting 140,000 cars on it.
They identified the approach span, had elements on it that had fracture critical aspects.
The project that we’ve been asked to do is to reconstruct the ramps and approaches to both the Brooklyn and Manhattan side. Replace 600 bridge bearings and take the lead paint off. You can never really shut down the bridge for any length of time, which makes it difficult (7).
They now spent several years upgrading, so that the Brooklyn Bridge will be taken off the category of that is both structurally deficient and fracture critical.
The decision to restore versus build is easier if you can build a new bridge, completely next to the old bridge like they are doing on Tappan Zee, but it is part of our legacy, you see. It just takes maintenance, it takes renovation and it takes work (8), I mean, there’s no other way around it, but it can stand forever.
New York City governmental administrations have represented some of the most enlightened recognisition of the importance of infrastructure.
What we have had is a declining number of dangerous bridges in the New York area as opposed to most parts of the nation.
This is how powerful these bridges are. It is a monument to the human mind. And yet we walk right by them, we drive by them, we ignore them, we abuse them, we take them for granted, but we don’t really stop and look what they really mean to us.