Seismic Damage and Retrofit of Bridges in California

by James H. Gates, California DOT, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Seismic Design and Construction of Complex Civil Engineering Systems


Since 1971, the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) has retrofitted about 1300 bridges to improve their seismic resistance. CALTRANS has investigated 13 earthquakes since 1971 but only recently have retrofitted bridges been involved. In both the 1986 Palm Springs earthquake and the 1987 Whittier Earthquake, retrofitted bridges were subjected to moderate shaking. Damage to State highway bridges during the Whittier earthquake was confined primarily to one bridge at the Interstate 605 and 5 Interchange. Shear damage, classified as moderate, occurred to the columns of one bent. The exact influence of the retrofit on the bridge response is not known at this time. The bridge was shored up and opened to traffic in less than 22 hours. CALTRANS is currently beginning a second retrofit program aimed at improving the overall response of tall ramp briges.

Subject Headings: Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Damage (structural) | Rehabilitation | Bridges | Bridge design | Highway bridges | Highway and road design | California | United States

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