Henry Petroski describes the design defects of the Silver Bridge across the Ohio River between Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and Gallipolis, Ohio, that led to its collapse in 1967. The original design for a bridge between Point Pleasant and Gallipolis was more conventional. Unusual design features of Silver Bridge did not end with its eyebars. The towers over which the chains passed were not rigidly fixed on their piers, as was common, but were designed to be able to rock freely back and forth on them in response to slight changes in cable pull. For decades, Silver Bridge had carried traffic without incident, even though that traffic had changed in volume and kind. Getting at the cause of the collapse of Silver Bridge required overcoming many obstacles, not least of which was the fact that the bulk of the superstructure lay in the river, some of it blocking shipping lanes.
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