The I-35W disaster might have inspired federal lawmakers to invest more money in America’s 600,000-plus bridges, a quarter of which have been deemed either “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete.” But Congress can barely keep the highway trust fund solvent, let alone agree on a new transportation financing mechanism. Each time the funding question gets postponed, the average age of U.S. bridges goes up (it already exceeds 40 years), as does the risk of another disaster on the scale of Minneapolis’.
[Photo: Ruin Raider/Flickr]
Crinkle-Crankle wall, England. (From Wiki)
The crinkle crankle wall economizes on bricks, despite its sinuous configuration, because it can be made just one brick thin. If a wall this thin were to be made in a straight line, without buttresses, it would easily topple over. The alternate convex and concave curves in the wall provide stability and help it to resist lateral forces.
Both crinkle and crankle are defined as something with bends and turns (Webster’s), but the term is also thought to come from Old English meaning zig-zag.
Many crinkle-crankle walls are found in the Fen Country of East Anglia.
[There are some in the States too: Thomas Jefferson (1743 to 1826) incorporated so-called serpentine walls into the architecture of the University of Virginia, which he founded. Flanking both sides of its landmark rotunda and extending down the length of the lawn are 10 pavilions, each with its own walled garden separated by crinkle crankle walls.]