When our daily lives are intact, normal, in gear, and modern systems are working, we hardly ever credit the civil engineers who had been and remain behind it. Yet, whenever something fails, we jump to accuse the little-known engineer for his/her mistakes in making faulty things.
Kolkata has witnessed some unfortunate bridge collapses over the last few years and, with my extensive experience as a structural expert in developing and developed countries, I was invited to talk about this topic at an evening lecture at the Calcutta Club.
There was a good turnout at the lecture, including students and professionals.
The social impact of infrastructure failure
Rather than talk about the background of engineering failures, I focussed my lecture on the social impacts of them.
I covered a range of major structural failures in my lecture, discussing my views on the reasons for failure in each case study, the societal impact of each failure, the number of casualties from each, and the impact on direct and indirect stakeholders.
The examples included the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse (Washington, USA) in the 1940s, West Gate Bridge failure (Melbourne, Australia) in the 1970s to most recent failures of Rana Plaza Savar building collapse (Dhaka, Bangladesh) in 2013 and Grenfell Tower fire incident (London, UK) in 2017.
I also talked in detail about the recent bridge collapses in Kolkata, namely Ultadanga flyover (curved span collapse), Bibekananda bridge (collapse of an under-construction bridge), Majerhat flyover (failure while in operation).
Read the full blog post here.
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