Engineer Comments on Minneapolis Bridge CollapseAugust 2, 2007
Material Technologies chief engineer comments on bridge disaster for Fox News, notes widespread bridge infrastructure problem in U.S.
LOS ANGELES & MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Brent Phares, Ph.D., Chief Engineer of Material Technologies Inc., (OTCBB:MTTG), a developer of advanced technology to monitor and measure metal fatigue, commented on yesterday's highway bridge collapse in Minneapolis, calling the disaster a sign of America's widespread problem with its aging infrastructure. Company Chief Engineer Brent Phares made his comments during and after an interview Wednesday night on Fox News at 11:00 PM ET.
Phares said it is too early to tell exactly what caused Minnesota DOT Bridge 9340, which carries Interstate 35 W over the Mississippi River just east of downtown Minneapolis, to collapse suddenly during rush hour. But he pointed out that the bridge was 40 years old and was built at a time when vehicular traffic and weights were much less than they are today and at a time when bridge steels and redundancy where not at today's standards. At the time of the collapse, trucks, buses and passenger vehicles were bumper-to-bumper on the bridge. The bridge also had fatigue-susceptible details which were difficult to inspect.
"Our first thoughts after this horrific event must go toward the injured, the families of the victims and the heroic people who have worked to save lives at the disaster scene and at hospitals," Phares said today. "As authorities analyze the collapse and determine its cause, however, they will have to come to terms with the fact that bridge failures are not isolated, rare events, and that the risk of new tragedies from unseen metal fatigue inevitably grows as steel bridges age. There is a growing, urgent need to inspect bridges with the most advanced technology in order to prevent more tragedies like today's collapse."
Phares noted the following facts about bridges in the U.S.:
- Visual inspection is the primary method of checking bridges for possible metal fatigue and potential catastrophic failure.
- One study by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) found that over 90% of fatigue cracks were missed with visual inspection.
- Of all the methods (visual and non-visual) used to detect cracks, only Material Technologies' Electrochemical Fatigue Sensor system can determine whether the cracks are growing. EFS can determine not only whether cracks are growing but whether they are growing slowly or rapidly.
- Over the past 10 years, on average, there have been one bridge failure in the U.S. every week.
- According to federal data, 39% of the bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete
- Federal law mandates that bridges over 20 feet long be inspected every other year, but it does not require any particular method of inspection.
- SAFETEA-LU, the federal transportation bill currently in effect, mandated that the FHWA carry out a program to identify technologies that detect growing fatigue cracks in bridges. Material Technologies' EFS is part of that program and already has been used in Pennsylvania. It also has been used in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Utah. Overseas, bridge owners in Australia, the U.K. and elsewhere have shown interest in deployment of the EFS in the near future.
About Material Technologies
Material Technologies Inc. (OTCBB:MTTG), also known as MATECH, is an engineering, research and development company specializing in technologies to measure microscopic fractures and flaws in metal structures and monitor metal fatigue in real time. The company's leading-edge metal fatigue detection, measurement and monitoring solutions can accurately test the integrity of metal structures and equipment including bridges, railroads, airplanes, ships, cranes, power plants, mining equipment, piping systems and heavy iron. For more information about Material Technologies, Inc., please visit its Web site.
Material Technologies, Inc.
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