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baltimoresun.com

Bay Bridge safety is a matter of physics

9:00 AM EDT, July 31, 2013

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I read your editorial about the safety of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and found it laughable ("Risking the bridge," July 24).

First, you can not politicize physics, whose laws are immutable. In the effort to get better fuel economy auto manufacturers have been making lighter cars. And trucking companies have been putting longer, heavier rigs on the road than when the bridge was built.

What does all this mean? A long heavy truck hitting a light car will impart a great deal of energy to the car. The Jersey walls are curved from bottom to top, so when hit by vehicle's wheel, the curve carries the whole vehicle upward along the curve.

A light car hit by a heavy truck will go over a 3-foot barrier easily. What you need is either a bigger wall with no curves or a wall whose curve is concave.

You should have passed your editorial by an engineer, and not printed it if he or she fell out laughing.

Joseph Schvimmer, Pikesville