In response to the article by Oli Poole in the Shoreham Herald entitled “Taxpayers footing £14K bill for bridge vandalism” I live on Beach Green and my living room view gives me very clear, detailed, site of the bridge so I look at it every day.
With my background as an engineer, I would venture to say that the actual cause of the breakages of glass is a fundamental design fault rather than vandalism.
It should, therefore, rest at the feet of the designers and builders of the bridge rather than with vandals.
Specifically, I would suggest the way that the glass is fixed in place does not take proper account of the flexing of the bridge structure, particularly in high wind events.
I present the simple evidence for this hypothesis:
l All the broken panels are on the windward (westerly) side of the bridge.
l There are eight broken panels in the centre of the most flexible part of the bridge (the Swing Bridge).
l Damage has occurred during particularly high wind events.
l The pattern of the breakage is very consistent from pane to pane, with no material missing (which is consistent with a stress fracture).
l In none of the broken panels is there evidence of missing material (which would be present if damage was caused by impact – with an object like a hammer).
l Visually the fixing of the glass would appear to be very rigid with no allowance for structural flexing.
I think these are strong arguments worthy of investigation and would relieve the taxpayer of the burden of repair for what would seem to be a straight forward design flaw and therefore the responsibility of either the designers or builders of the bridge.
Reviewing the arguments suggesting vandalism as the prime cause, I find the arguments weak and the behaviour of the vandals unusually calculated and selective. For example – they would have chosen to target only the windward side, neatly breaking an even set of eight panes right in the very centre of the bridge, mostly during storms. All when CCTV footage failed to pick them up.
I would be happy to share my opinions on site with anyone who would care to come and see the evidence for themselves.
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