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Caribbean bridge corrosion linked to urine

HUMAN URINE is threatening the safety of a major suspension bridge in the Caribbean, an Institution of Structural Engineers London meeting was told.

Mouchel project manager Raymond Hobbs said a recent inspection of the 45 year old 175m span Puente Duarte bridge in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, discovered major urine-linked corrosion below deck level.

'It seems there are few public conveniences in Santo Domingo, so pedestrians and cyclists crossing the bridge regularly relieve themselves against the four steel towers, ' explained Hobbs.

Many rivet heads have now completely disappeared, he said.

The survey also highlighted widespread pitting up to 10mm deep in the steel and corrosion in the end hangers and at the end of the suspended span.

Worse still, Hobbs added, was the corrosion of the connections between a transverse girder and the ends of the mainspan truss.

A major ú15M ($25M) strengthening operation will repair and strengthen the weakened towers.

The main span truss will also be reconstructed and the suspension system replaced.

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