Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Infrastructure - John Oliver - Last Week Tonight

This entire show is great but their HBO clip is awesome

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How to tie a Bowline Knot

Thought I'd start to post some of my rope access techniques/skills, I'm sure some other engineers might be interested in learning some rope access  techniques/skills for when access is limited.

Here I'll quickly discuss the Bowline knot, which I use often for rope access, hiking and kayaking. CMC Rescue posted a great video on how to tie the bowline knot and you can watch it below. Usually seeing a knot being tied is much easier than reading how to do it.
The Bowline (ABOK # 1010, p 186) makes a reasonably secure loop in the end of a piece of rope. It has many uses, e.g., to fasten a mooring line to a ring or a post. Under load, it does not slip or bind. With no load it can be untied easily. Two bowlines can be linked together to join two ropes. Its principal shortcoming is that it cannot be tied, or untied, when there is a load on the standing end. It should therefore be avoided when, for example, a mooring line may have to be released under load.
There are a few variations of the bowling knot:
  • With a Safety Knot either in the Loop or Line
  • Yosemite Tie-off
  • Eskimo Bowline
  • Left Handed Bowline

Monday, December 29, 2014

Rope Access Level II

A few weeks ago I attended a Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) training course in Bristol RI at Axcess Rescue for my SPRAT Level II certificate. This means that the past year and half I have accomplished:
  • Minimum of 6 months and 500 logged rope hours as a SPRAT level 1 (verification of SPRAT log book should be acceptable).
  • Complete a four-day rope access training course from a qualified trainer (recommended, not required).
  • Complete a level 2 written test
  • Level II Field evaluation by an independent SPRAT Evaluator on day 5.
At the training I was able to learn the follow:
  • Management and communication awareness
  • Job Safety Analysis proficiency
  • Principles of mechanical advantage systems
  • Load sharing anchor mastery
  • Pull-through anchors
  • Rope systems analysis
  • Cross hauling – (platform and pitch head)
  • Rescue hauling – (platform and pitch head)
  • Aid climbing
  • Pick-off rescue with victim in ascent
The rope access course reviews all level I skills such as:
  • Equipment use and inspection
  • Job Safety Analysis awareness
  • Level 1 Knots
  • Back-up device use and handling
  • Use of ascending system for ascent and short descents
  • Use of a descender for descent and short ascents
  • Use of work seat/Bosun’s chair
  • Passing Knots in ascent and descent
  • Rope-to-rope transfers
  • Negotiating a rope deviation (redirect)
  • Short rebelay
  • Long rebelay
  • Negotiate an edge
  • Installing and Passing Rope Protection
  • Configurations and Strengths of Simple Structural Anchors
  • Awareness of load-sharing anchors and force magnification charts
  • Climbing with shock-absorbing Lanyards
  • Belaying – Methods and communication
  • Lowering a load with a two rope system
  • Pick-off rescue with victim in descent
  • Theoretical rope concepts such as fall factors, safety factors, min. breaking strengths, and safe working loads
A great part about the training was being able to see Level IIIs train next to me. Hopefully in a few years I will be in their shoes going for my Level III. The second part the was useful about the training was the Axcess Rescues instructor has been a big part of the SPRAT organization and has help mold and shape it into the organization it is today. 

A great way to stay fresh or learn new rope access techniques are the great videos that are posted on youtube. They walk you through the techniques as if you were in the course.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Road trip

On my way home to Mass driving though New Hampshire got to see a few covered bridges. Still haven't had the opportunity to work on yet but hopefully I will in the future.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fictional Bridges on Euro Currency Transformed into Reality

The fictional bridges depicted on Euro banknotes have been been transformed into reality at a new housing development near Rotterdam. Link to article

"The European Bank didn't want to use real bridges so I thought it would be funny to claim the bridges and make them real," Stam told Dezeen.

"I wanted to give the bridges an exaggerated theatrical appearance – like a stage set," adds Stam, who poured dyed concrete into custom-made wooden moulds to make them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Taylor Southgate Fracture Critical Inspection

Last month I was down in Cincinnati, OH for the Fracture Critical Inspection of the Taylor Southgate Bridge. From Wiki:
The Taylor–Southgate Bridge is a continuous truss bridge that was built in 1995. It has a main span of 850 feet (260 m), and a total span of 1,850 feet (560 m). The bridge carries U.S. Route 27 across the Ohio River, connecting Newport, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Some regard this bridge, which was a replacement for the Cincinnati-Newport Bridge built by Samuel Bigstaff [1], as a little too plain in its design for a major urban bridge, especially considering many cities today are opting for a more elegant design, such as a cable stayed bridge.[2]

The bridge is named for the families of James Taylor, Jr. and Richard Southgate, two important early settlers of Newport. Richard was the father of William Wright Southgate, a pre Civil War Congressman from northern Kentucky.
Like other inspections, I tried to get the inspectors POV by wearing my GoPro. Only ended up wearing it one day since it does get in the way when you stick your head into built up members.

Much like the other inspections I've been part of in Kentucky, this truss was primarily inspected through rope access techniques. The first three days were spent on the upper chord and doing drops to see the underside of the chord and connection to the diagonal tension members. This bridge was easily climbed due to its designers incorporating details for inspectors to use such as extra angles for stepping around gusset plates.

On the weekend a man-lift was used to inspect the area between the lower and upper chord where it was not efficient to use climbers.

The Cincinnati area is home to many other Ohio River Bridge crossings

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kennedy Bridge In-Depth Inspection

A couple months ago I was down in Louisville KY to help inspect the Kennedy Bridge which carries I-65 over the Ohio River. Earlier in the year I was out at the Kennedy Bridge to inspect the floor system for Kentuckey's Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) since they wanted a detailed inspection before they decided to rehab or replace the deck and stringers. Previous Post about Kennedy Bridge floor system.
See that post for photos and details about the bridge. This inspection, much like the previous floor system inspection was done almost completely by rope access climbers. Two days were used for snooper and man-lift work on the weekend when traffic was not an issue.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Railroad Routine Bridge Inspection

The past few weeks I've been busy working long nights for bridge and tunnel inspections. Our inspections were located in Revere, South Boston and Brookline and each had its own unique access requirements.

The Revere bridge spans over the Blue Line and was inspected using ladders since it was a short span consisting of prestressed concrete butted box beams in good condition. Using ladders allowed us more time for inspection since we did not have to wait for a hi-rail lift truck to be put on and driven to the bridge. We were able to get on track around 1am and finished just before they needed power back.
The South Boston bridge spans over the Red Line and MBCR commuter rail tracks and was inspected with ladders even though it was a larger span consisting of prestressed concrete butted box beams in good condition. We decided to use ladders since we could inspect the commuter rail portion starting at 10pm and finish before the MBTA would allow us access to the Red Line around 2am. There was also a small portion over a dirt road with no traffic at 1am. Working in all three sections could not be accomplished using a hi-rail lift since the truck would require traveling further south to be able to get onto the tracks.
The Brookline bridge spans over the Green Line near the Beaconsfield Station and was inspected with a 40 foot hi-lift since the bridge was wide and consisted of 57 rolled steel beams. We were able to get on right near the bridge just after 1am and finished the wide bridge just before power was needed back.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 ASCE Concrete Canoe Winner

Brings me back to the days when my team qualified with our canoe Cherry π

2014 ASCE Concrete Canoe Winner

Here are a few photos from back at school when we were placing the concrete.