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Media outlets ask Professor Ansari why did the Baltimore bridge collapse?

Media outlets in Chicago and Sacramento, California have reached out to UIC Distinguished Professor and Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Professor of Civil Engineering Farhad Ansari for expert advice about the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on March 26.

The bridge, a roughly 1.5-mile-long steel arch truss bridge, collapsed into the Patapsco River early after a containership struck it, sending people and vehicles into the water and shut down one of the country’s busiest ports.

Ansari spoke to an ABC 7 Chicago news reporter about how investigators would examine whether there was enough protective structure around the pier.

“I think that some of them could take such loads or absorb most of the energy, and I wonder if this bridge had sufficient protective structures around its piers,” Ansari explained.

See the full story at ABC 7 news.

KCRA 3 Interview
Sacramento’s NBC affiliate KCRA 3 news reached out to Ansari to break down what happened when the ship hit the bridge. The news anchors also asked him if any bridge would have withstood the impact and how long it could take to rebuild the bridge?

Ansari explained how the bridge was an older design and he assumed it was lacking “sufficient protection.”

“Now, if we have a bridge where it has what we call dolphins, which are basically like stumps coming out of water or they have islands around the piers, and sufficiently designed to absorb a lot of this energy, then the bridge in my opinion would have survived. Perhaps partially survived, but it wouldn’t have totally collapsed,” he said.

See the full interview at KCRA 3.

Ansari has been called upon to provide expert opinions for the media many times. Earlier in March, he was asked to provide his expert opinion on a bridge closure in Louisville.

He is a specialist in monitoring the structural status of bridges, dams, buildings and tunnels, and leading a research effort at UIC that incorporates telecommunications, sophisticated software and fiber optic technology to create monitoring systems for new and aging infrastructure. He helped assess the health of the Brooklyn Bridge and designed a monitoring system for a new bridge in China. Ansari has worked with several state agencies in monitoring highway bridges, including IDOT, NJDOT, and Caltrans on tracking trucks on their highways by installing Bridge Weigh-in-Motion systems.He uses the latest technology to make monitoring fast, accurate and affordable. He brings unique capabilities as a structural engineer with expertise in fiber optic sensors.