Oregon DOT studies seismic effect on bridges, roads

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter | Thursday, October 01, 2015

In Oregon, a new study by the Department of Transportation concludes if the state was hit by a major earthquake, as many as half of the bridges could collapse, especially in western Oregon.

DOT spokesman Don Hamilton says it would be impossible to really put an exact number to it, but if a magnitude 9 earthquake off Oregon’s west coast occurred, it would be devastating for roads and bridges.

“We would certainly see severe damage, such as bridges collapsing, roads collapsing, a lot of our life lines collapsing,” says Hamilton, “hampering, of course, our ability to bring in emergency supplies.”

Hamilton says some bridges in Oregon have been upgraded to be more earthquake-resistant. But he says dozens of bridges on Highway 101 and the Interstate 5 bridge, which connects Oregon and Washington, have not been upgraded and would be expected to collapse it there was a major earthquake.

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