WAFF 48 talks to a bridge expert - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

WAFF 48 talks to a bridge expert

If we've heard it once we've heard it a thousand times--bridges don't just collapse.

So what went wrong in Minneapolis?

WAFF 48 Investigator Rachel Hardman talked to a local bridge builder today.

While he obviously can't tell us exactly what happened in Minnesota, what he has to say does shed some light on the tragedy.

Bailey Bridges in Fort Payne knows bridges.

They built the world record teter-toter bridge seen in a Toyota Tundra commercial.

The company's president, Gil Graham, has followed the tragedy in Minnesota.

With a deep understanding of the laws of physics, he says that shouldn't happen.

"No, bridges don't just fall on their own. They always fall for a reason, just like a plane crashes for a reason. And the reason for that Minneapolis bridge falling, we don't know, but they'll find out. The answer lies at the bottom of the Mississippi River I'm sure."

The mostly steel bridge was 4 decades old.

Sounds like a lot, but not according to Graham.

"40 years old is not old for a bridge that's well-maintained, especially a steel bridge. A steel bridge, if it's well-maintained, will last a 100 years or more."

Had it been a design problem, he says it would have been evident a long time ago. He calls it a maintenance problem.

"If it's properly maintained it should go on and on and on."

But from there, he'll leave it to investigators.

"There's a thousand reasons that bridge could've fallen and it was probably more than just one reason...combination of two or three things."

And as a result of this tragedy, Graham imagines there will much closer attention paid to inspections and maintenance.

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