The Decaying of Somerville Bridges

By William Tauro

Why is Somerville allowing our bridges to decay and remain as a centerpiece as seen daily at the gateway of our city as well as a potential hazard to our young children and pets.

The bridge located on McGrath O’Brien Highway next to the intersection of Highland Avenue and McGrath Highway has gaping holes that a child could fit through as well as a dogs or cats, major structural corrosion and is an eyesore to the thousands of daily commuters who see it everyday and driving over the bridge at their own risk of injury.

Even though it is a state owned bridge, it is in our city and city hall must take responsibility and get the situation corrected before a potential tragedy strikes.

According to cement.org corrosion of reinforcing steel and other embedded metals is the leading cause of deterioration inconcrete. When steel corrodes, the resulting rust occupies a greater volume than the steel. This expansion creates tensile stresses in the concrete, which can eventually cause cracking, delamination, and spalling.

Steel corrodes because it is not a naturally occurring material. Rather, iron ore is smelted and refined to produce steel. The production steps that transform iron ore into steel add energy to the metal.

Steel, like most metals except gold and platinum, is thermodynamically unstable under normal atmospheric conditions and will release energy and revert back to its natural state—iron oxide, or rust. This process is called corrosion.

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