Random Thoughts... [Automotive Edition]

DanRoM

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So... an Autobahn bridge on the German A 45 that got closed rather suddenly a month ago because of "oh shit, this is gonna collapse" will not be reopened, because even building in strengthening measures making it suitable for car traffic only (no lorries) would take three years.
Tearing down the old bridge and building a new one is estimated to take five years, and everyone's reaction to that is "yeah right".

This is the spot, and here's the German Wikipedia article about the bridge, source of this picture:
600px-L%C3%BCdenscheid_Rahmedetalbr%C3%BCcke_FFSW-0993.jpg


So the only Autobahn running through that region is cut for years to come, and there are many, many industrial companies there. The region is basically fucked, especially the town of Lüdenscheid that has to cope with all the Autobahn traffic now running through town. This is the road from Frankfurt to the Ruhr Area and further towards North-Western Germany. The alternative routes go via Cologne, a traffic hellhole already, or Kassel, a massive detour towards the east.

This is a major case of negligence, it was clearly missed to repair/replace the bridge in time. It was already known in 2010 that the bridge was approaching critical status, but due to lack of resources (read: political will) it was postponed several times. Until late last year, when an inspection basically ended with the structural engineer on site taking out his phone and calling the police to stop traffic immediately (dramatization by me, but that's basically what happened).
The A 45 was build in the 1960s, and because of the hilly terrain there are many bridges, practically all built in the same way. While some have seen major preventive repairs in the last two decades, it's now an open question whether those repairs were sufficient, and of course there's the matter of the bridges that are still original.

On the political side: The prime minister of our state of Northrhine-Westfalia has been the Minister for Traffic until three months ago, when he took the PM post because his predecessor went off to be a member of the federal parliament. This probably means nothing, as the main opposition party had that ministry from 2010 to 2017, so they can't really say anything.
 

Perc

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It’s a bit weird that politicians get to decide on stuff that should be in the hands of engineers.
 

GRtak

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The American way! 😬


First, stop laughing at our constant insistence on fucking things up by simply ignoring them.

Second, this is proof that this is simply the way humans are. I don't find much comfort in that.
 

93Flareside

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First, stop laughing at our constant insistence on fucking things up by simply ignoring them.

Second, this is proof that this is simply the way humans are. I don't find much comfort in that.

To a point. This was not ignored to the point lives were lost. Should the repairs/replacement been ignored this long in the first place? No, not at all, but at least it didn't take the point of people dying.
 

CraigB

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First, stop laughing at our constant insistence on fucking things up by simply ignoring them.

Second, this is proof that this is simply the way humans are. I don't find much comfort in that.

Not laughing, trust me. I was specifically thinking about the I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota. I recently watched a video about the reason why it did and, to your point about humans being human, it was simple mistakes due to cost concerns over steel grades, then the right thickness tie plates not being used.

However, the more recent I-40 bridge near Memphis does give me hope. Of course when a major member is split in two it's more obvious there's a problem.
 

GRtak

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Not laughing, trust me. I was specifically thinking about the I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota. I recently watched a video about the reason why it did and, to your point about humans being human, it was simple mistakes due to cost concerns over steel grades, then the right thickness tie plates not being used.

However, the more recent I-40 bridge near Memphis does give me hope. Of course when a major member is split in two it's more obvious there's a problem.


Laughing was probably a bad choice. Would mocking be more fitting? Either way, we just keep kicking the can down the road.
 

Matt2000

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I thought mocking Americans (in general) was our job? Stop taking my job!

1641593756830.png


If I thought too much about how bridges are or aren't maintained I'd never drive over them. Or sleep at night.
 

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DanRoM

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Does anyone here drive a Honda from the 2000s, with navigation system?


:rofl:

It seems like Honda didn't account for their cars living this long... :D

(As a software engineer, I have a pretty good idea how this happened.)
 

GRtak

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DanRoM

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And another traffic-related tale from this country, or town even:

  1. many many residential streets were build when there were far less cars on the road, and those that existed were mostly narrower than today's cars;
  2. Nowadays just about everywhere in town people park half on the sidewalk, half on the road;
  3. People with strollers or wheelchairs can't use the sidewalk anymore;
  4. Finally some people get the authorities involved;
  5. Every parking car on that particular street gets a ticket for illegal parking;
  6. Now people park completely on the street;
  7. The local bus company gives up driving through that street because the buses can't get through anymore, canceling three bus stops;
  8. ....?
  9. No, no profit.
The situation sucks to begin with. There's just too many cars here, because this country is so fucking car-centered and public transportation is a joke even in this city, the 9th-largest in the country, as soon as you deviate from the subway lines.
 

Perc

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@DanRoM, you would probably laugh at what passes for a traffic problem in my town :D

Basically, they've been building and developing a shopping district in the outskirts of town since I was a youngster. It's now fully developed, so one of the large retail chainS in the country is building a new supermarket on the other side of town. "The other side of town" is about 10 minutes by car. This is all really nice if you own a car since parking is abundant and free.

If you don't, and you live in the town center (which you have to if you don't have wheels) you're left with a bunch of nice little speciality shops and a mall, all of which has the writing on the wall because the vast majority do their shopping trips by car and nobody wants to go into town and pay for parking.
 

Matt2000

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They banned parking half on the pavement here too, fortunately the roads can mostly handle it. There's still someone down the road that now parks their car on the road, opposite a junction, rather than half on the pavement but that's an exception.

I've suddenly had the feeling that I need a third car. Something trash-able that I can just get into and abuse, going further than I'll take the bobtail and in situations where I wouldn't want to use the Miata. A dog car I suppose, despite me not having a dog. The Volvo I posted in the eBay thread seems too good so maybe a really cheap Freelander 1, preferably a 3-door with the removable top. Early diesels were a lot more reliable than the 1.8 K-series and are £60 a year cheaper to tax than the later Td4.

Something like this:

1641765649852.png

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202112200683975
 

NooDle

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From what I hear that’s pretty much the least reliable Land Rover product, and that’s saying something.

Also what is it with Brits having multiple cars per person? I get one commuter car and one ‘fun’ car, but why would you need the ‘dog’ car aswell?
 

Matt2000

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Not sure where that information is from but the original Freelander certainly isn't the least reliable now, nor was it at the time of production. It was let down massively by the 1.8 K-series petrol but that's only a percentage on vehicles. All P38 Range Rovers at the time were considerably more unreliable and that will always be the worst Land Rover product. I would quite like to own one at some point, just as long as I never need to rely on it.

On first generation Freelanders, there can be issues with the transmission coupling for the rear axle due to lack of use (viscous drive coupling that wouldn't be used on road) and lack of maintenance (a reduction drive, which can fail when the previous issue isn't fixed). Neither really disable the vehicle as the propshaft can just be removed and it can be driven as FWD only, regular maintenance would avoid the issue. There isn't much else to go wrong and they don't rust like a Defender or Discovery of the time. It was sad to see the perfect body shells of multiple Freelanders in the local scrapyard, presumably all petrols that just weren't worth fixing. Could make a good base for an EV conversion, as someone did a long time ago.

The Freelander 2 is the most reliable Land Rover out there, my father has one and I'm impressed with how flawless it has been. It's probably the vehicle with the most Ford influence.

----

I've always chosen quite niche cars so there will always be a use case not covered. If I wanted to go to Wales to see a historic car rally now and it's snowing, I wouldn't want to subject the Miata to that kind of treatment (road salt, mud on the interior, etc.) but I wouldn't attempt to drive that far in the bobtail. I no longer need an everyday commuter car as I did when I got the Tesla, I'd feel pretty nervous about using that in the above scenario though.
 
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