Tropicana Casino Garage Collapse Investigation

2004 | Atlantic City NJ

Client Pepper Hamilton LLP
Project Leader and Structural Engineering Expert Guy Nordenson and Associates
Collaborator Dr. Anthony Ingraffea

As an expert witness in a litigation related to the 2003 collapse of the Tropicana Casino Garage in Atlantic City which killed four construction workers, Guy Nordenson and Associates provided forensic engineering services including peer review of the design documents related to the 10-story concrete garage to assess code compliance; evaluation of the construction administration documents and correspondence relevant to the collapse region; and detailed structural analysis of the reinforced concrete elements responsible for the structural failure. In addition to code-related calculations, GNA conducted nonlinear inelastic equivalent frame “pushdown” analyses (similar to a lateral “pushover” analysis with plastic hinges representing regions of ductile response) to study the behavior of the structure prior to failure. The brittle punching shear failure of the under-reinforced concrete beam-to-column joint was analyzed using linear elastic fracture mechanics in a two-dimension finite element analysis using software developed by Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, a fracture expert at Cornell University.