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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Biggest Thing Afloat Sinks

This Day in History: November 25, 1990

Since the birth of modern civilization bridges have provided passage where otherwise movement forward would be impossible. The History of Bridges is fascinating filled with story upon story about life and death surrounding their construction, as well as events that led to their destruction, whether by man or nature. From those built of wooden logs, stone or dirt to those representing the epitome of architectural design and phenomenal engineering, e.g. the Golden Gate Bridge, many famous bridges - historical and modern, hold special places in history.

Lacey V. Memorial Bridge Sinking
Today's place in history is held by the collapse of an old bridge along the longest interstate highway in the United States, I-90. Scenes of bridges collapsing are not uncommon in movies with its share of blood and gore. These stories are not all Hollywood since most come from real life events. The scene on this day is in Seattle, Washington while a rehabilitation and maintenance operation was underway on the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge.

Known as The Biggest Thing Afloat, the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge is one of the longest floating bridges in the world. Construction on the bridge began January 1, 1939 and was completed in 1940. After 50 years of service, in 1990, disaster befell the old pontoon bridge while under repair. The event has been portrayed as "slow motion Titanic" since viewers actually watched the bridge sag, break apart and descend to the bottom of Lake Washington.
...news organizations had gotten wind of the situation and, within a short time, helicopters hovered over the bridge. As viewers looked on, the bridge began to sag. By the afternoon, it began to break apart. One by one, sections of the bridge broke off. In Titanic fashion, the pieces upended themselves and then tilted, slicing their way to the bottom of the lake. By the end of the day, the bridge was gone. [Source: HistoryLink.org]

How did this happen?

Construction on the bridge was well under way having begun in 1989. Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday in 1990, workers had cut six-foot-high holes into the hollow concrete pontoons to facilitate work. With the holiday at hand, the holes had not been closed and basically someone forgot to check the weather report. On Saturday all seemed well with the pontoons appearing relatively dry. Unusual high winds and rain, however, left an entirely different picture on Sunday morning. By that time, the pontoons were found to be nearly submerged. Efforts to pump them out were in vain.

If it is man-made, it is susceptible to error and destruction but can always be rebuilt or replaced in accordance with the day's advanced engineering and technological skills. At least on this day, that which cannot be replaced was spared...life!

Related Article @Awakenings:

The Biggest Thing Afloat