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意大利垮桥灾难—经济学人文章

   2018年8月14日,位于意大利北部城市热那亚(Genoa),建于1967年的Morandi大桥,其长度200米的一段桥面在暴风雨中瞬间倒塌,混凝土碎块和汽车从45米高的桥面位置跌落,导致43人丧生。
       GENOA位置  桥梁原貌垮塌后场景

垮塌后航拍

倒塌过程分析

著名的《经济学人》杂志以这次桥梁垮塌事故为引子,以专业的视角撰文分析世界范围内桥梁存在的问题和解决方案,引起人们深思。

下面是该篇文章的译文,和大家分享。

古老的桥

A bridge too far

倒塌的基础设施引发工程师的忧虑

Crumbling infrastructure worries civil engineers

古人将倒塌的树木,连拉带推地跨过溪流,第一座桥建成了。从那以后,建筑技术一点点进步,从木头、石头、熟铁再到钢铁。在20世纪,出现了钢筋混凝土。混凝土是一种非常坚固的材料,特别是与钢筋结合时。但是,本周热那亚Morandi桥的突然倒塌,除了惨痛的人员伤亡,也增加了土木工程师的担忧:世界上许多使用钢筋混凝土的桥梁质量恶化速度比预期的要快。

THE first bridges were likely to have been built by early man shoving a fallen tree across a stream. Since then, construction techniques have come on a bit—from wood to stone, wrought iron and then steel. In the 20th century, reinforced concrete appeared. Concrete is an immensely strong material, especially when coupled with steel. But the sudden collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa this week (pictured), with a tragic loss of life, adds to the concern of civil engineers that many bridges around the world which use reinforced concrete are deteriorating faster than was expected.

热那亚桥是按照斜拉桥进行设计,但稍微有些不同。这种桥使用一个或多个塔,从塔中斜拉出钢索来支撑桥面。斜拉桥与悬索桥有所不同,悬索桥支撑桥面的缆索垂直悬挂在主索上,主索锚固在桥的两端,例如旧金山的金门大桥。斜拉桥主要用于比悬索桥单跨跨度更短的桥梁。

The Genoa bridge is based on a design called a cable-stayed bridge, although it is a somewhat unusual variant. Such a bridge uses one or more towers, from which run cables that support the deck of the bridge. This is different from a suspension bridge, such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, in which the cables holding up the deck are suspended vertically from a main cable anchored at either end of the bridge. Cable-stayed bridges are widely used, mainly for spans shorter than those crossed in one go by a suspension bridge.

斜拉桥

悬索桥,旧金山金门大桥

斜拉桥的一个常见特征是:从桥塔斜拉出的钢索形成一个像扇子的图案。通常情况下,如果出现某一根钢索损坏或断裂,剩余的钢索应该能够承担设计荷载,以保持桥体结构的稳定。 Morandi桥不同之处在于,它是由预应力钢筋混凝土作为拉索来支撑桥面,而不是钢索。由钢丝绳组成钢筋束,经过张拉后置入混凝土中,待混凝土凝固后对其产生压力,以提高混凝土的抗压强度。这座桥由该类桥梁的支持者Riccardo Morandi设计。世界上只建造了少数几个此类桥梁。

A familiar feature of a cable-stayed bridge is that the cables form a fan-like pattern emanating from the supporting tower. If one of the cables is damaged or breaks, it should be obvious; the loading on the bridge is calculated so that the remaining cables will be capable of holding the structure up. The Morandi bridge is different because it was supported by pre-stressed concrete tendons. The tendons are made from bundles of steel wires tightened to produce compressive strength and then encased in concrete. The bridge was designed by Riccardo Morandi, a proponent of this type of bridge. Only a few have been built around the world.

过去曾提出过对热那亚桥梁的担忧。据意大利媒体报道,2016年,热那亚大学钢筋混凝土专家Antonio Brencich将这座桥描述为“失败的工程”,迟早将被更换。英国斯特拉斯克莱德大学的土木工程专家Daniele Zonta表示,自1967年桥梁开通以来,钢筋束需要持续监测和维护。

Concerns about Genoa’s bridge had been raised in the past. The Italian media has reported that in 2016, Antonio Brencich, a specialist in reinforced concrete at the University of Genoa, described the bridge as a “failure of engineering” and that sooner or later it would have to be replaced. Daniele Zonta, a civil-engineering expert at the University of Strathclyde, in Britain, says that since the opening of the bridge in 1967 the tendons have required continuous monitoring and maintenance.

虽然这座桥的设计很不寻常,但要说混凝土的使用是导致桥梁垮塌的主要原因还为时尚早。除了采用混凝土作为拉索之外,Morandi桥均按照传统方法设计。世界各地很久以前建造的桥梁,特别是那些使用钢筋混凝土的桥梁,其状况都正在恶化。甚至早在1999年,一项研究发现,欧洲大约30%的公路桥梁存在某种缺陷,特别是钢筋或预应力钢筋束的腐蚀。

Although the design of the bridge is unusual, it is much too early to say if that played any fundamental part in the collapse. And in other respects, the Morandi bridge is far from atypical. All around the world bridges built long ago, particularly those using reinforced concrete, are deteriorating. Even back in 1999, a study found that around 30% of road bridges in Europe had some sort of defect, particularly corrosion of their steel reinforcing or pre-stressed tendons.

美国道路与交通建设者协会1月份的一份报告更加令人深思。据估计,该国612,677座桥梁中有54,259座桥梁存在“结构性缺陷”。这些问题桥梁的平均年龄为67岁,每天通过车辆1.74亿次。该组织的首席经济学家艾莉森•普雷莫布莱克说,按目前的维修和更换率,需要37年才能解决所有问题。

A report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association in January is even more sobering. It reckoned that 54,259 of that country’s 612,677 bridges are “structurally deficient”. These problem bridges have an average age of 67 years and are crossed by vehicles 174m times every day. At the present rate of repair and replacement, it will take 37 years to remedy all the problems, says Alison Premo Black, the organisation’s chief economist.

这些桥梁出了什么问题?问题在于混凝土,更确切地说,用于加固混凝土的钢筋可能会以多种方式失效。盐分、冰冻和剧变的天气会导致混凝土表面产生微小裂缝。当这些裂缝向内蠕变发展时,水会进入其中。一旦水接触钢筋或钢筋束,就会对它们产生腐蚀。钢筋的腐蚀会进一步扩大裂缝,从而引起混凝土碎裂。实践表明,从破碎的混凝土上生锈的条纹可以看出这种情况的存在。

What is going wrong with these bridges? The difficulty is that concrete, or rather the steel used to reinforce it, can fail in a number of ways. Salt, ice and the pounding of weather can cause tiny fractures in the concrete’s surface. As these cracks creep inward, they let in water. Once the water reaches the steel reinforcing or tendons, it corrodes them. This enlarges the cracks, which can cause the concrete to fall apart. That this is happening is evident from rusty streaks on crumbling concrete.

繁忙交通

Heavy traffic

英国南安普顿大学结构力学专家Mehdi Kashani说,其它因素也加剧了桥梁的恶化,例如来自交通工具的恒定周期振动。尤其对于20世纪60年代设计的桥梁来说问题更大,因为当时交通流量较低、汽车较小、卡车更轻。最致命的是,由于极端天气的影响,使结构产生热胀冷缩、洪水侵蚀基础、大风冲击桥梁。所以定期检查和维护桥梁是必不可少的。

Other factors compound the deterioration of bridges, such as a constant cyclic vibration from traffic, says Mehdi Kashani, an expert in structural mechanics at the University of Southampton, in Britain. This is troublesome for bridges designed in the 1960s, when traffic flows were lower, cars were smaller and lorries much lighter. On top of that, extreme weather can take a toll, with heat and cold expanding and contracting the structure, floods eroding away foundations and high winds buffeting the bridge. This is why regular inspections and maintenance are essential.

监控结构的新方法可以帮助工程师防微杜渐。无人机可以轻松拍摄桥梁任何部分的细节照片,而无需攀爬桥梁或架设脚手架。 电子传感器可以定期读取结构中的任何位移。 激光扫描仪能够呈现清晰的细节并三维成像。 所有这一切都应该有所帮助,但前提是必须有制度来确保详细监测和预防性维护的执行。 如果由于某种原因而跳过此类任务,结果可能是灾难性的。 “热那亚桥不是倒塌的第一座,” Mehdi Kashani博士说, “不幸的是,它将不会是最后一个。

New methods of monitoring structures are available to help engineers spot problems before they become critical. Instead of the arduous task of climbing up bridges or erecting scaffolding, camera drones can easily take a close-up picture of just about any part of a bridge. Electronic sensors can provide regular readings of any movement in the structure. And laser scanners are capable of picking up fine details and displaying them as a three-dimensional image. All this should help, but only if regimes exist to ensure that careful monitoring and preventive maintenance take place. If such tasks are skipped, for whatever reason, the result could be disaster. “The Genoa bridge is not the first to fall down,” says Dr Kashani. “And unfortunately it will not be the last.”

维修或替代?

Repair or replace?

监控和维修不是唯一的选择。 当桥梁在20世纪50年代,60年代和70年代建造时,许多人预计其寿命将超过100年。 但钢筋混凝土的腐蚀促使一些土木工程师认为这种桥梁的寿命可能只有50 – 60年。 这意味着成千上万的桥梁即将结束它们的使命。 翻新是一种可能的解决方案,但即慢又昂贵,投资可能超过建造一座新桥。

Monitoring and repair are not the only options. When bridges were being built in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, many were expected to last for more than 100 years. But the decay of reinforced concrete leads some civil engineers to think that such bridges may have a life of only 50-60 years. That means thousands of bridges are coming to the end of their days. Refurbishment is possible, but it is slow and very costly. It might end up being more expensive than building a new bridge.

工程技术的进步推动了新型结构的涌现。随着材料科学的突飞猛进步,甚至可以修补结构的内部材料,使混凝土更坚固、钢筋更防锈。 一些国家已经在制造超高性能混凝土,使建筑物能够抵抗地震作用和炸弹冲击。除了沙子和水泥之外,其它成分也添加到这些超级混凝土中,例如石英和各种增强材料。 在一些试验中,植物纤维的添加已经生产出了更高强度的混凝土。

New structures can also take advantage of advances in engineering. There has been huge progress in materials science, so much so that it is now possible to tinker with the internal structure of substances to make concrete more robust and steel better at resisting rust. Ultra-high-performance concrete is already being made in some countries to toughen buildings against such things as earthquakes and bombs. Apart from just sand and cement, other ingredients are added to these super concretes, such as quartz and various reinforcing materials. In some tests, the addition of plant fibres has been shown to produce markedly stronger concrete.

自修复混凝土也正在探索中。实现方法多种多样,其基本思路是:如果表面出现裂缝,它们将引发化学反应,再次密封它们。

Self-healing concrete is also being explored. Different methods can be used, but the basic idea is that, should cracks appear in the surface, they will trigger a chemical reaction that seals them up again.

然而,整体更换旧桥梁代价高昂。跨越纽约哈德逊河的Governor Mario M Cuomo大桥将会替代老的Tappan Zee大桥,预计将于今年晚些时候全面投入运营。 它是以经典方式设计的斜拉桥, 预计耗资约40亿美元。 在20世纪50年代,这座古老的桥梁主要由钢和混凝土建造而成,耗资约6000万美元,按今天的价格计算,仅相当于5.64亿美元。 Tappan Zee 桥的预期寿命为50年,但却使用了将近62年。新桥预计将有100年的寿命,让我们拭目以待。

Wholesale replacement of elderly bridges would be an expensive exercise, however. The Governor Mario M Cuomo Bridge, which opened as a replacement for the old Tappan Zee Bridge which crosses the Hudson River in New York, is expected to become fully operational later this year. It is also a cable-stayed bridge, but one of a more traditional design. It is expected to cost some $4bn. The old bridge, built largely from steel and concrete in the 1950s, was knocked up for some $60m, which in today’s terms would be a bargain $564m. The Tappan Zee Bridge was predicted to have a lifetime of only 50 years; it managed nearly 62. Its replacement is supposed to last for a century. Time will tell.

左侧为Governor Mario M Cuomo大桥

右侧为老的Tappan Zee大桥

新桥和老桥航拍

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文章名称:《意大利垮桥灾难—经济学人文章》
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