Washington State Magazine

Spring 2005

Spring 2005

In This Issue...


Baseball is a Family :: We hear about his time with the Padres; about teammates Dave Winfield, Willie McCovey, and Tito Fuentes; how he'd faced Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench and Pete Rose and Joe Morgan; and how a tear of his rotator cuff had brought an end to his major league career.

The tie that binds :: No matter what you want to blame—predatory pricing, vertical integration, foreign competition, globalization, urban sprawl—the fact of the matter is, rural America is packing it in. At least the rural America of our memory or imagination.

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Recipe: Stuffed Peppers from the Harrah Café }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Galleries: Washington Communities:Harrah and Pullman }

Where water meets desert :: Among locals, you occasionally hear the word "wasteland" used to describe sagebrush-studded lands that biologists prefer to call native shrub steppe. It's impossible to take such a harsh view when Robert Kent is your guide to the Columbia Basin Wildlife Areas.

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Where water meets desert :: Photos of the Columbia Basin by Bill Wagner }



:: SEASONS|SPORTS: Meeting the challenge


Cover: Former San Diego Padres pitcher Joe McIntosh '73 and his daughter Molly. Photograph by Robert Hubner.

A computer rendering enables us to visualize the completed New Tacoma Narrows Bridge, left of the original span.


A computer rendering enables us to visualize the completed New Tacoma Narrows Bridge, left of the original span. Tacoma Narrows Constructors

A Once-In-A-Career Project

by | © Washington State University

Any engineering student can recount how wind-induced vibrations and poor aerodynamics caused "Galloping Gertie," the first Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge, to swing wildly and collapse into the channel during a storm November 7, 1940.

More than 60 years after that failure, a group of Washington State University engineering alumni are helping to build a new bridge next to the one that replaced the original in 1950. The effort began in 2002 and is expected to cost $849 million. It will be the largest single project ever undertaken by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

"It's a dream job for me and a lot of the folks working on it,'' says Dennis Engel ('83 Civil Engr.), project engineer for the WSDOT. "This is a once-in-a-career project. This bridge will be standing much longer than I will."

The mile-long bridge will be built parallel to the current Tacoma Narrows Bridge, known as "Sturdy Gertie." Its concrete towers will rise more than 500 feet, and the two concrete anchorages holding the structure will each weigh more than 44,000 tons. The project also retrofits the existing bridge to better withstand earthquakes, and provides extensive roadway improvements along State Route 16.

Engel oversees construction and inspection for the state on the project.

Other WSU engineering alumni working on the project include Flint Gard ('86 Civil Engr.), who serves as the anchorage superintendent for Tacoma Narrows Constructors; Eric Ostfeld ('97 Civil Engr.), who oversees construction for all land-based activities, including coordinating between WSDOT and the builders; and Ray Crumbley ('87 Civil Engr.), plans liaison engineer for the Olympic region, who reviews design for roadway plans and non-bridge work.

The engineers say they feel fortunate to work on a project of this size. "It's going to be hard to go back to a normal job," says Ostfeld.

Click here to read a longer feature on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and WSU engineering alumni.

Categories: Engineering | Tags: Bridges

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