Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Been Meaning to Post This Stuff

First trip by

Closer view

Progress made

All of the collapsed bin removed
This is one of the grain elevators at Oakley, KS. Apparently both holes appeared at once and dumped concrete bits and grain all over the railroad tracks, damaging some rail cars in the process. No one was injured.

I've seen these things being put up, and it is done with slip forms and one hell of a bunch of rebar. The construction firm begins by laying down the foundation forms and has the slip form in place all ready to go. Rebar is laid in around the circular perimeter and interwoven vertically. Continuous concrete pouring is required - as the slip form goes up with more concrete, more rebar is put in place and so on, until they get to the desired height. I've also seen several old elevators demolished with a crane and ball arrangement. It takes  for freaking ever - the ball hits, there is a thud, and perhaps a few concrete fragments fall. At some point the latticwork of remaining rebar has to be cut out. Chunks are measured in inches, not feet as pictured here.

So what happened? I have my suspicions. I hauled grain for ten years, and it was normal to find small concrete chunks from deteriorating elevators in the mesh over the pit where we dumped a load. Storing grain became far less profitable when the CCC quit paying storage fees many moons ago, and some of the Coops of the time just didn't have the money for maintenance. In order for holes this big to fall out means there was a lot of rebar failure. The rebar had to rust in two in quite a few places.

How did that happen, you may ask? Cracks in concrete is nothing new. Cracks in concrete in roads or elevators that are not sealed will result in catastrophic failure, be it bridges, roadways or grain bins, because it allows water to seep in and rust out the steel rebar. The water is trapped inside, the rust is accelerated, and the water also expands and contracts when the weather changes. I used to hear stories from old Coop hands I encountered in my travels.

Just my opinion - I think this place was pretty woeful when it came to preventive maintenance. It was a Coop owned elevator, and they have all gone broke and for profit companies have bought them out.

Then, the other day when traveling through Texas, the wind was blowing in the upper sixties. Yep, almost seventy mph. This was the result on I27 south of Lubbock. The truck ahead of me was headed into the thickening cloud, and we were all running about 45mph - and btw, there was a car right behind that truck. When it got so bad the shoulders disappeared, everyone's flashers came on.

Well, inevitably, something like this always happens.  People slow down, others do not, plow into slower traffic - chain reaction. One person killed, seventeen injured, and the interstate was shut down just north of Lubbock. I had to take the detour. It was so unbelievable windy that it was nearly blowing an empty dry van ahead of me over, and visibility on the secondary roads was probably worse than the interstate. We were on super skinny farm to market roads, and the fields almost came right up to the shoulder. I had decided if it got worse, when I got to Plainview, a motel room was gonna be in my very short term plans. Not that I'm afraid of hustling a low profile flatbed through that crap - it's all the other idjuts I worry about.

But the further along I got the better the visibility got as well, so I ended up making it home that night.

Bob keeping watch

He heard me moving around and is ready at the door.
For those of you wanting a Bob update - he and I are great buds these days. He'll park himself in the trees across the yard, hoping I'll come to the door. If he happens to hear me headed to the door, he usually beats me there. Now that it's extremely dry, there is a lot of static electricity involved when I pet him, and every little spark makes his little stump quiver. I'd bet it would look like a snake if he still had his tail. He's certainly moving it in his mind.

I also keep guard against the other cats stealing his treats because they remain better hidden, and as soon as I step inside, I'll see 'em coming out from under cover to grab what they can. My feeling is that if they let me pet 'em, they could enjoy the treats. Otherwise, eat the cat food that Road Pig provides for 'em. Bob is a big wuss and won't defend himself. So I help him out a little.

And we got snow! Yeah, there is some showing in the pic of Bob, but not like this. And this was actually Sunday morning before the first of the year. Six to eight inches of some fairly heavy stuff, and it's still hanging around. The temps have just started hitting into the forties lately.

And while Bob parks his hiney on open ground, the cold really does not seem to bother him a lot. I have also found that Bob can be quite vocal, and when I get home and he is waiting, he continuously lodges complaints about the service he is getting at the moment.

Which of course is none, because I'm unloading the travel stuff or groceries. Nothing less than a complete rubdown (including skritches around the ears) and more importantly - treats - will do.

As it should be, Bob. As it should be.


drjim said...

I don't think I've *ever* driven in wind that strong.

But I've driven in snow that was far worse than the dust you had to go through.

It was worse because the road was reeeeeally slippery, the snow was coming down sideways, and one mistake meant in the ditch.

But then I guess you've probably had to drive through some pretty bad snowstorms, too.

Oh, well....

Just be safe out there!

Jess said...

I've seen concrete silos wrapped with steel bars to prevent collapse. They were still in use, although the engineers were constantly checking to insure the reinforcement had not deteriorated further.

Rebar swells when it rusts. After time, the concrete will spall and leave huge holes.

pleasantp said...

Well, the storage bin failure was due to the conspiracy of world rulers and space men from other planets. Yu' know, they took down the World Trade Center. Turned it into dust....steel rebar and all. Now their coming after the little guys in small Kansas towns.

Nuckle Kim (with tongue in cheek)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update. please be careful out there on the road.

Jeffro said...

I think my uncle has aptly demonstrated just how jaded we are with the never ending bs we endure. Heh.

Anonymous said...

I love these kind of posts. Bob has you trained pretty well, don't he? :-)