WJE to Lead Investigation of I-35W Bridge Collapse for MnDOT

August 1, 2007
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE) has been retained by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to lead their investigation into the cause of the I-35W Bridge collapse that occurred on August 1 in Minneapolis. On August 2, Minnesota Governor Pawlenty announced that WJE had been selected to conduct an investigation that "would parallel the investigation being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)." WJE structural engineers were on site within 24 hours of the collapse to begin their work.

WJE is an interdisciplinary firm of more than 420 engineers, architects, materials scientists, and other professionals that specializes in the evaluation, testing, and renovation of existing structures. Headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois with offices in eighteen cities across the U.S., WJE has completed more than 70,000 projects since it was founded in 1956.

WJE has extensive experience in conducting structural failure or forensic investigations and is often retained as the lead investigator when major structural collapses occur. Notable past bridge-related failure investigations performed by WJE include the Schoharie Creek Bridge collapse in New York, the Cline Avenue Bridge collapse in Indiana, the Hatchie River Bridge collapse in Tennessee, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge gantry crane collapse in Florida, the Maumee River Crossing gantry crane collapse in Ohio, and the Route 69 Tennessee River Bridge collapse in Tennessee.

Other notable past WJE assignments include a Stem-to-Stern safety review of Boston's Big Dig following a fatal ceiling collapse there in July 2006, a quality audit of South Korea's High Speed Rail system, investigation of the Kansas City Hyatt walkway collapse, and reconstruction of TWA Flight 800 for the NTSB.

WJE's staff includes nationally recognized experts in all areas of structural engineering and in virtually every construction material. Many of WJE's engineers specialize in projects involving highway bridges and other transportation-related structures. Their work typically includes structural assessment, testing, analysis, and repair or total rehabilitation design, including development of construction documents and construction observation. WJE professionals have also completed numerous transportation-related research projects for various agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP).

In addition to its extensive experience and staff of nationally recognized experts, WJE's structural and materials assessment capabilities are enhanced by a 70,000 sq ft state-of-the-art structural and materials laboratory facility located at its Northbrook, Illinois headquarters. The laboratories contain expert technical staff and equipment capable of performing load tests; nondestructive evaluation (including ultrasonic, magnetic particle, eddy current dye penetrant, impact echo, ground penetrating radar, and pulse echo testing); fatigue testing; concrete corrosion studies; concrete strength testing; vibration testing; and chemical and petrographic materials analysis.

In addition to its in-house laboratories and testing capabilities, WJE currently operates the Nondestructive Evaluation Validation Center in McLean, Virginia for the FHWA. Through this laboratory, WJE helps the FHWA evaluate emerging or cross-over technology for the condition assessment of infrastructure facilities including bridges and highways.

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE) is an interdisciplinary firm providing practical, innovative, and technically sound solutions to structural, architectural, and materials problems. Since 1956, WJE has successfully completed investigative, testing, and repair projects involving virtually every type of construction material, structural system, and architectural component.


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