Are fast track projects related to poor engineering?

To130301 bridgeday I was reading on the digital wire of about the costly mistake of the highway 520 Bridge Pontoons. Cracks start to appear and the long term durability is questioned. The article states that “the state chose to design the pontoons itself on a fast track (rather than delegate that responsibility to contractors) as a strategy to attract lower bids…”. In my mind came also the article from International Business Times about the problems and collapses of new Chinese infrastructure. Is this new fast track project approach responsible for poor engineering?

Is the time pressure and the lowest budget to blame for serious engineering mistakes? The challenging economic environment is pressing away from serious engineering judgment and step by step design and construction, to all at once. Designs are constructed from automated drawings with serious mistakes before the calculations have been completed. Thinking time, quality control and checking are practically omitted even though this is not admitted. Is this the way to go? Should we stop and rethink and try to persuade decision makers and money driven decisions that in the end you are not saving money?

Additional information regarding the fix of the bridge pontoons can be found here

About Chrys Steiakakis

Chrys Steiakakis is a practicing geotechnical engineer with more than fifteen years of experience in the field of geotechnical engineering. He earned his bachelor and master in mining engineering from the Technical University of Crete, Greece and a second master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA. He has been the technical director of engineering department of General Consulting ISTRIA for four years and now he is a partner and also provides his own consultancy services via Geosysta ltd. He has been involved in numerous highway, railway and mining projects. Chrys with his long term collaboration with the Technical University of Crete has participated in numerous research projects in the field of geotechnical engineering and rock mechanics and has provided self sustained seminars of geotechnical engineering in related areas for the Industry. His main field of experience covers all aspects of tunnel design, earthworks design and monitoring (slope stability, embankment in difficult ground, reinforced embankments and retaining walls), landslide investigation and mitigation, foundations for bridges and structures, risk assessment in geotechnical projects and value engineering in large projects.

One thought on “Are fast track projects related to poor engineering?

  1. Good NIGHT. There just can’t be any excuse for mistakes like this. We engineers exist to help develop a functioning world. Not THAT mess. Just plain scary.

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