Effect Measure

Too hilarious:

Engineers in the past week have huddled over blueprints in an underground complex that also can serve as a safe haven for visiting presidents in the event of an emergency and as a lookout point for government agents monitoring terrorist activity. (Denver Post)

The underground complex is in wing off the Glenwood Canyon Tunnel section of Interstate-70 in Colorado. And the engineers are huddling there because it’s caving in:

A crack in concrete above the main Glenwood Canyon tunnel on Interstate 70 is growing wider and worse than expected and will force multimillion-dollar repairs while the tunnel is closed all summer.


The troublesome crack is above the eastbound lanes of the Hanging Lake Tunnel. It is in the ceiling of an empty wing of the five-story traffic-management center, which serves as the brains for a highway equipped with zoom video cameras, seismic sensors, pavement temperature sensors and satellite weather monitors.

But all those gizmos and the banks of computers that made Glenwood Canyon a model “smart highway” for other road-building projects couldn’t outsmart a crack in the highway’s nerve center.

The crack first was noticed in July during a routine maintenance inspection and has been monitored and measured every two weeks. In February, it began leaking water and widening.

Colorado Department of Transportation officials began putting funding into place, knowing a repair would be necessary. Several weeks ago, the crack widened more – it is now 70 feet long, 4 1/2 feet deep and 1 1/2 inches wide – and that set off a flurry of action.


Engineers also have been getting helicopter views of the damaged area and the cliffs that dropped minivan-sized rocks onto the underground building, causing the crack.

If I promise not to tell anyone, can we make this Vice-President Cheney’s “undisclosed location”? Please?


  1. #1 Ann
    April 9, 2007

    I agree with you 1000% Could we add Karl Rove as well?

  2. #2 M. Randolph Kruger
    April 9, 2007

    Uh-uh. Not unless you take Hillary too.

  3. #3 revere
    April 9, 2007

    Randy: Add George and I’m in.

  4. #4 M. Randolph Kruger
    April 10, 2007

    Uh-That leaves us with the Manchurian Candidate…Al Gore.

  5. #5 Melanie
    April 10, 2007


    Al Gore? You misunderstand the US media.

  6. #6 Darin
    April 10, 2007

    This is actually a common problem for roads with non-standard ground. Landfills are another example that better illustrates the problem. When the ground below moves due to earthquake, settles due to change in density such as landfills or sand sinkholes, the road begins to crack. I don’t know about this place, but in the case of sinkholes and landfills, the slight grade and crack in the road now actually creates a small, low-grade funnel for moisture. The moisture enters the underground area and due to one process or another shifts the contents. The results can be repeated ad nauseum or outright failure. Road sections in Florida have disappeared into the ground. In California, where land is at a premium, landfills decompose the organic material much faster with new water. Some California highways are 10 or 15 feet thick in concrete as the old is filled over with the new.

    Putting this facility in a tunnel just goes to show that the left hand isn’t talking to the right hand unlike the left hand ignoring the right hand (see: Giuliani and placing city emergency center in World Trade Center against advisement). Either way, they get what they deserve, an undiserved bill.

  7. #7 DeadAhead
    April 11, 2007

    Great post, Darin.
    I would add only that Giuliani’s obsessive push to shift NYC’s emergency management “bunker” from police headquarters to the 23rd floor of a known terrorist target (backed by huge diesel fuel tanks that the fire department tried in vain to stop) was at least in part the result of his determination to reward one of his biggest campaign contributors, the landlord of WTC No. 7.
    Giuliani forced approval of a very long lease (15 years, I think) through the city council by threatening to block all member spending til they caved in.
    The almost instant need to evacuate the 23rd floor bunker is what, ironically, provided Giuliani with the TV coverage of his heroic, dusty quest for a new headquarters (while, of course, firefighters, cops, and office workers were dying for want of communications 8 years after an earlier terrorist attack on the same location).
    I doubt the media will ever spell out what
    “America’s Mayor” really did that day, and why he needed to.
    Unless some competing Republican candidate hires Karl Rove or a worthy successor to brainstorm 60-second versions of that truth; then the networks can be paid handsomely to run the lurid corrections.

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