Monday, May 24, 2010

Galloping Gertie II

A friend sent a link to me with video coverage of a bridge recently completed in Volgograd, Russia. The bridge is doing something that is unique to suspension bridges.

It is swaying.

The roadbed, that is.

Here is a video clip from YouTube>

I particularly like the sound effects.

Russians have now gotten to experience a phenomenon in bridge-building called resonance. Resonance is something akin to how you keep your swing swinging at the playground. You move your body at a certain frequency and that frequency matches the natural frequency of the swing.

Its also how the Bay of Fundy has that huge tidal range.

Americans, sadly, had their own case of a resonating bridge 70 years ago. In 1940 a recently completed suspension bridge started swaying after 3 days of nonstop winds at an average speed of 43 miles per hour.

Here is a newsreel clip of that event.

Reporters labeled that ill-fated bridge “Galloping Gertie,” so I guess the Russian bridge is “Galloping Gertie II.” Or maybe Galloping Georgyi.

So along with the bridge collapse one really nice-looking car, a Plymouth, I think, went into the drink.

The only fatality, however, was a dog. The dog was in the car. That guy tried to retrieve the dog, his daughter’s pet, but the dog was so frightened it didn’t want to come with him.

I often ask myself how did that guy ever explain to his daughter what had happened to her little dog, “Tuffy.”

No comments: