Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow blasts the midwest

What do you mean you can't get out to get cat treats?

One of the many reasons I moved here. We don't have to shovel rain. And as I'm not much of a water person I don't live near a flood zone.

There's flood warnings all over the place here but at present it's stopped raining here. They say there will be a lot of rain in the mountains which will melt the snow and flood the rivers. We'll see. Now if we get one of those Canadian cold fronts coming down from the north while the pineapple express is dowsing us with rain, watch out. It's happened once back in the early 90s. What's the worst snow storm you have experienced? Mine was back east in the late 70s with about 26 inches in two days and I wasn't living in Minnesota at the time either.

Looks like a go ahead for the tunnel to replace the Alaska Way Viaduct. This is Seattle's answer to Boston's "Big Dig". I can tell you now that they'll have problems with that due to a couple of factors. One is that when they built the bus tunnel under 3rd Ave the soil shifted causing most of the buildings on that street to drop by one inch. Not a good thing to happen when a high rise must be level. Second is that the soil from 3rd Ave. down to the waterfront is nothing but sand and fill. Not something to build a structure on and I'm no building engineer but on face of it it doesn't sound good. Third and last is that there's a fault line at Royal Brougham near Safeco field which is where they'll be putting the entry point to this tunnel.


harry said...

That tunnel idea is just about the worst thing they could come up with.

It's all about real estate/developer interests, not what is good for ANYTHING else. Roads don't pay.

If they ever do create that nightmare waiting to happen it will be 5 to 10 X the current estimated "price".


Eunoia said...

Remember many nuclear reactors are built riverside because they need the cooling water.

Many rivers run allong faultline valleys.

Think San Andreas faultline.

Now go pray.

Demeur said...

Harry I'd expect at least double the estimated cost 6.2 billion.

Stu it won't matter when we get a big quake. I live about two blocks from the Puget Sound. When the big one hits I'll end up whale bait.

The Blog Fodder said...

I saw a documentary about earthquakes in that area. It isn't if but when is right. Much of Greater Vancouver will disappear as the mud flats it is built on will simply swallow it up.
People think of California as earthquake country and forget about the northwest.

harry said...

Demeur, my primative rule of "thumb" is to double the best est, then double THAT. And I consider this conservative.

What did Bostons Big Dig end up at in regard to projected est I wonder?

Too many variables in a project of that size to get anything but the most vague idea. Even the est time will be easily 3-4 X est.

They're in love with the idea though apparently.

I'd say those clowns need to run a rail service of some sort up through there but they can't even seem to run the "EL" they have now.

S.W. Anderson said...

I'm no engineer either, but from what I've read, they can tunnel in sand and soft soil like that OK. It's like the egg shell can withstand incredible pressure, provided the pressure is distributed with perfect evenness over its surface.

The joker in this deck, as you point out, is fault activity causing shifts. There goes your perfect evenness. That's not just a collapse worry from a big event, but an expensive repair risk from repeated smaller shifts.

The Big Apple is ideal for tunneling because it's over largely sandstone and granite. Takes tremendous effort to tunnel through that, but once done, it's in there for good.

If you notice, further south on the East Coast, Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia's Tidewater region, where the soil is similar to that of the Puget Sound area, bridges, causeways and ferries are favored. For good reason.

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