Historická paměť a nezdary stavebního inženýrství

George Santayana, španělsko-americký básník a filozof, kdysi varoval: „Kdo zapomíná na minulost, je odsouzen si ji zopakovat." To platí především v oblasti mostního stavitelství, kde v posledních 150 letech docházelo k dramatickým neúspěchům v překvapivě pravidelných intervalech.

K prvnímu velkému konstrukčnímu selhání na rozvíjející se britské železniční síti došlo v anglickém Chesteru roku 1847. Pod projíždějícím vlakem se zřítil most přes řeku Dee, jehož konstrukce z litého a tepaného železa navazovala na běžnou dobovou praxi, a způsobil smrt všech cestujících. Následné vyšetřování odhalilo, že stavba, nejdelší svého druhu, posunovala hranice železničního mostního inženýrství až příliš daleko.

Řeku Tay ve skotském městě Dundee překlenul roku 1879 nejdelší most na světě. Stavba, složená z mnoha skromných polí, nezahrnovala žádná zásadně nová koncepční pojetí a jevila se jako pouhá aplikace prověřené technologie. Hrubě však byla podceněna síla větru a řemeslné provedení bylo ledabylé. Došlo tedy k tomu, že most přes Tay podlehl vichřici a ta jej strhla z pilířů.

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