BEYOND ENGINEERING: THE POLITICS OF MARACAIBO

It is described how the 29-year old Lake Maracaibo Bridge, one of the great engineering achievements of modern times and the only transportation link between the economoic centers in the oil-rich eastern lake shore and the interior of Venezuela, is imperiled by the corrosive forces of nature and heavy truck traffic that overstresses the members. The most threatening, however, could be the lack of an organization responsible for monitoring its use and for regular inspection, repairs and routine maintenance. Details of the design and construction of the bridge are described. The beginning of distress in 1980, and onsite investigations in 1988 and 1989 are also described. Details are given of the site inspection findings, as well as the structural safety analysis. It was determined that action beyond engineering, involving both the soical and political realms, was required to save the bridge. The most important outcome of the investigations was the establishment of an organization responsible for routine inspection and maintenance. The organization was modeled on that of the San Fransisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

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  • Accession Number: 00605112
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 31 1991 12:00AM