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Defective Welds in Coliseum Press Box

August 18, 1996

The logic of the press box weld issue escapes me. The data ("Panel Votes to Repair Faulty Coliseum Welds," Aug. 8) lead me to the following comments: No testing or inspection of two vertical support columns is inexcusable. The test cost to date has been in excess of $100,000, yet repair costs are less than $20,000 for 12 welds out of approximately 48 that have been examined. How many more welds are there, and if 26% of those have defects, how safe is the press box support structure?

Is Commissioner Sheldon Sloan, a lawyer, more of a weld expert than John F. Hall, a Caltech engineer? How can he say that enough has been done to satisfy critics of the press box work? I certainly will not sit under the press box, but if you are compelled to do so, as a minimum, I suggest that you wear a hard hat.

PAUL W. BERNSTEIN

Beverly Hills

* Regarding the Coliseum press box and its structural welds, I believe that steel beams should be assembled by bolts or rivets. Welding of either steel or aluminum causes brittleness and degradation of the strength of these metals. In aircraft structures, all welded assemblies are put back into a heat-treat oven to restore the lost properties.

A Times article in June 1994 described how newly welded joint samples were sent to the University of Texas at Austin. They all failed in a simulated earthquake test. I believe rivets or nuts and bolts are the answer.

EDWARD S. HILL

Aerospace Engineer, retired

Sherman Oaks

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