MoDOT Invents "Load-Bearing Duct Tape" To Hold Bridges Together

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Thursday, January 29, 2004

from the now-that's-innovation dept.

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The Missouri Department of Transportation today announced that the agency has received a US patent on a new form of duct-tape and bailing wire capable of holding together rusty bridges that any other state would have replaced ten years ago.

"How do you think we were able to keep the old Cape bridge from collapsing all these years?" said a MoDOT spokesperson. "The secret was duct tape embedded with microscopic titanium reinforcement rods, along with bailing wire connected using a space-age adhesive: Elmer's Glue."

According to a department press release, the new material, called Ductilium, has already saved Missouri millions of dollars. "With this innovative technology, we have managed to delay replacing thousands of rust-infected bridges that other states (with too much money to burn) would have already replaced during the Carter Administration," the statement said.

Unfortunately, some bridges are in such appalling condition that even space-age duct tape isn't enough. The bridge at Laflin in Bollinger County was closed last month after inspectors discovered that the bridge's weight limit had dropped to somewhere near 0.0001 tons. "If a car crossed that bridge and a butterfly landed on the car, the bridge would probably collapse," said an engineering consultant. "We tried installing Ductilium, but some of the girders are so warped they make Howard Dean's presidential platform look good."

The technology was originally developed when MoDOT assembled a team of Rolla engineering students to devise a solution to keep the Cape bridge open without requiring costly repairs, which the department had already spent on maintaining its fleet of aircraft. After taking time out of their busy beer-chugging schedule, the Rolla students found the perfect solution.

"I've always said that duct tape is the answer to all of life's problems," one of the team members boasted. "This just proves my point."