Carmageddon and an Engineering Pioneer

NBC News has had a couple of stories about “Carmageddon” which is a nickname given to the closing of the I-405 Highway in Los Angeles. I wanted to see how long they would be closing the interstate, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and wound up on the I-405 page, which told they are only closing it for a weekend which doesn’t seem that bad to me. In the article is an old picture of two of the engineers on the project. What I knew was very unusual about the picture was that it was so old and that there were two women engineers involved, including the designer of the bridge (the other unusual thing is that the engineers are given any credit at all for the highway appearing).


I honestly don’t think Georgia had any women bridge engineers until the 1980’s. So this was pretty impressive, especially because this was a pretty major project, using complicated designs with primitive computers, and in one of the country’s worst seismic zones. I wanted to see if I could find out anything else about the bridge engineer in the picture, Marilyn Reece (on the left, in the white coat). A Google search quickly found her obituary from 2004 in the Los Angeles Times. They had a great write-up about this pioneer who was the first female civil engineer to become a Professional Engineer in California. They said she became an engineer because she liked math and didn’t want to be a teacher.

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