Econ Case Study

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The Quebec Bridge Collapse of 1907 Matthew Chaney CE 395 The Quebec Bridge was the idea of the Quebec Bridge company and was designed as a cantilever bridge that would span the St. Lawrence River. An engineer by the name of Theodore Cooper was contracted to oversee the building project. The first thought of the bridge founded in 1887 in order to allow trading to continue from both sides of the river during the winter months when ice wouldn’t allow boats to maneuver through the area. The design would clearly be a difficult one, calling for a single span length of 1800 feet and a width of 67 feet to allow trading vessels to easily pass, but Cooper was more than willing to take on the challenge. The first drawings for the project were sent to Cooper in 1903 by an engineer named P.L. Szlapaka and were approved with few changes. This was the first step in getting the ball rolling on this massive design project. After the approval of the initial drawings, the engineers began to put time into the working drawings. This process took around six months before the working drawings made it to the desk of the Theodore Cooper. As Cooper waited for the drawing, work began in order to have materials available when the working drawing arrived to ensure the project could begin on schedule. When Cooper received the working drawings, he noticed that the estimated weight of the bridge was on the low side by around 8 million pounds. Cooper had to make the decision on whether to shut down the project and waste the time and effort that had already been put into it or go ahead and risk a bridge failure. “Telling himself that the 8 million pounds was within engineering tolerances, Cooper let the work continue” (Mysteries). After receiving the green light from Cooper, the construction process on the bridge began. As early as June, only one month into the construction process,

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