Travis Welt on KARE11 about bridge collapse

In the News: Civil Engineering Chair Weighs in on Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Dr. Travis Welt, a structural engineer and chair of the Civil Engineering Department at the University of St. Thomas, spoke to KARE 11 and WCCO Radio about the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, which was hit by a container ship on March 26. For many Minnesotans, the fatal accident was reminiscent of when the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River on Aug. 11, 2007.

From KARE 11:

“When something happens like this, it puts a little pit in your stomach,” said Travis Welt, chair of the Civil Engineering Department at the University of St. Thomas.

Welt says there are many factors engineers consider when building bridges – weather, wear and tear, and even seismic activity.

This bridge collapse is something he says you never think about.

“It’s essentially a freak accident,” he said. “This is something that we understand is possible, but, almost, you think about it as an infinitesimally small chance of happening, but obviously in this case, it did happen.”

From WCCO Radio:

"Initially, I think as engineers, we have a similar reaction as anyone else would. A little bit of shock and a little bit of sinking of the heart, because you understand there are some families likely that are going to be affected by this. From an engineering point of view, when you look at something like this... a barge or a container ship colliding directly with a bridge of this magnitude isn't something that you can feasibly design the superstucture of the bridge to sustain..."