About eighty years ago, engineers were able to build a bridge on time and within budget with no problem; today, most of the projects take extra time and money to finish. What exactly happened between now and eighty years ago that caused such a drastic shift? It is clearly not the engineers nor the technology; in fact, those have only improved over time. Today, engineers are faced with much more than designing and building the infrastructure, as they were before. They compete with politicians for funds, fight for the safety of workers, and protect our environment by adhering to the numerous laws and acts set forth by the government. In the future, we can only expect more costs, longer time periods for projects, and an increase in costs and types of materials. For example, the Bay Bridge, connecting the cities Oakland and San Francisco in California, is a perfect illustration of how engineering techniques and costs change over time. First built in the 1930’s, this bridge became an icon to the Bay Area, and in time, to all of California. Rebuilt more than 80 years later, this bridge was a case of politics, social standards and environmental impacts. The difference in finances and policies clearly changed over time, yet today it stands tall and lit—uniting the two cities.
The San Francisco Bay Bridge was built in 1936. Back in the 1930’s, not only was it much faster but also much cheaper to build a bridge. Today there are many requirements to be fulfilled during the course of a project. One such obligation is the National Environmental Policy Act, NEPA, which requires engineers and contractors planning a project to take environmental impact into account. Since this was not done in the 1930’s, contractors and engineers saved four year...
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...ederal Highway Administration. FRP- Materials - Bridge Structures. 7 Aug 2013. 5 Mar 2014
Fountain, Henry. "Building a Bridge of (and to) the Future." 12 Oct 2009. The New Yorker. 5 Mar 2014
Hamburg, Laura. "Span Design Displeases East Bay." SFGate. 11 June 1998. 10 Mar. 2014.
Newman, Morris. "Controversy Swirls Around Proposed Bay Bridge Re-Design." California Planning & Development Report. 1 Oct. 1998. 10 Mar. 2014.
Vorderbrueggen, Lisa. "Building the Bay Bridge: 1930s vs. Today." MercuryNews.com. 10 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
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