Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sausage Sandwich Saves I-95 From Collapse!

You really can't make this stuff up!
Sandwich-seeking engineer spotted cracked I-95 pillar
Associated Press
Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at 11:14 am
PHILADELPHIA - A structural engineer's hankering for a hot sausage sandwich might have helped save Interstate 95 from collapse.

Peter Kim and his colleague Tony Jen, on their way back to their office after an inspection nearby, pulled off I-95 in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood for a late lunch Monday afternoon. After eating sausage sandwiches in their car, they were driving alongside the elevated highway when Kim spotted a huge crack in a concrete support column.

Kim, who works for a Bristol consulting firm named Specialty Engineering, took pictures of the cracked column with his cell phone and called PennDOT immediately.

The 6-foot crack in a 15-foot tall column led transportation officials to close a three-mile stretch of the highway within hours of Kim's discovery.

The interstate remained closed Wednesday morning as workers erected four steel towers to take the weight off the pillar and support the highway, which carries about 190,000 vehicles a day.

The roadway was expected to reopen once the towers were finished, a task expected to take at least until Wednesday night. Workers then will set about to repair or replace the damaged column.

Kim does contract work for the state Department of Transportation and had inspected the column twice in the last three years. Its condition had always been stable but he saw that it had dramatically changed since he last saw it in December.

As a bridge inspector, Kim is constantly looking at structures, even casually, on his time off.

"I just felt like I was doing my job," said Kim, 40, of Horsham. "Definitely anybody who saw it would have reported it."

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