Fulton Road Bridge-3, Duane Houkum-0
(Not) falling down on the job
Demolition Day falls through
Fulton bridge only partly toppled
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Plain Dealer Reporter
(Complete article here)
The Fulton Road Bridge, deemed so deteriorated that it was a danger, refused to tumble Saturday despite several rumbling blasts of explosives.
The first detonation, a few minutes before 8:30 a.m., blew out four stanchions and part of one 110-foot-high arch on the bridge's northern end. The anti-climactic blast barely dusted the grassy Big Creek Valley's edge with chunks of chalky concrete.
The demolition contractor, Duane Houkom of Texas, had predicted the span's 50 million pounds of concrete and steel would drop straight to the ground after a five-second rumble.
But even the second try, almost an hour later, produced only a cloud of dust that dissipated to reveal most of the arches triumphantly standing. The explosion left the 75-year-old bridge looking as though it had lost its two front teeth.
A third and final blast sent the center part of the structure down, but four of the bridge's six arches remain.
Construction manager Ryan Kokosing blamed the malfunction on a defective cable that connected the charges.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the demolition team will decide at a meeting Monday when blasting will resume. All areas of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which the bridge passes over, will be open during regular hours today, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What a bloody freaking surprise to see yet another expensive public works screw-up around here. Despite very many wonderful things in this region, there are well-founded reasons this town is a pathetic joke; here we have a prime example.
Which causes me to ponder a few points:
The (allegedly) horribly precarious, danger-to-us-all-aiiieeee! Fulton Road Bridge got the better of numerous applications of explosives. This leads a reasonable person to conclude that the bridge probably could have been refurbished rather than demolished.
And it's not as if a city which has lost literally 50% its population over the past decade-and-a-half is having traffic problems requiring a larger bridge.
But a new bridge is far more expensive than fixing an old one. As such, that provides lots more union jobs than a repair job. This is of vital importance in a region where the unions (along with our comically inept and foully corrupt politicians) have managed to kill the economy in the first place.
(Yup...those unions sure do look out for workin' folks. There used to be a steel industry here. Autos. Hell...Akron used to be "The Rubber Capital of the World"; they haven't manufactured a tire there in years. And don't get me started on Local 4 of the American Federation of Musicians, which may actually disappear in the near future; it couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of douchebags.)
Further, a new bridge provides exponentially more opportunities for our local elected thugs to "dip their beaks" and reward their organized criminal buddies. (I was born in Chicago, so civic corruption surprises me not. But the bastards here are not only greedy, they're dangerously stupid, too. Hence our moribund economy.)
I'd also like to know why a petrifyingly incompetent retard like Duane Houkom is even permitted to get on a plane by himself to travel here, much less play with high explosives on a fucking bridge built over our zoo. Shit...it's not like there's anything that could go wrong.
This man should be fired for not having the common sense that every semi-housebroken musician in the world possesses: bring an extra goddamned cable to the gig!
While I'm sure there's some modest technical expertise required, how fucking difficult can it possibly be to make explosives actually blow-the-fuck-up?
Jesus H. Christ & His Orchestra!
Alternatively, it may be that ol' "Cletus" Houkom was strongly encouraged to purchase supplies from "Uncle Rocco's Construction-Stuff-Dat-Fell-Off-O'-Da-Truck Emporium". If so, it'd be typical of Cleveland that even our mobsters are incompetent. Next thing you know, they'll attempt to blow-up an informant's car with a couple of M-80s (at least one of which will, no doubt, fizzle).
Houkom should be fired for non-performance without being paid one damned cent. Three strikes and you're out, motherfucker.
And let's hire some guys with a proven track-record for demolishing much larger structures; I'd recommend Mohammed Atta & Associates.
Now if only I can also figure out a way to ensure that all of our local politicians will be at Ground Zero.