Seismic Retrofitting: Spending to Save

by James Denning, Asst. Editor; Civil Engineering, 345 E. 47th St., New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 2, Pg. 48-51

Document Type: Feature article


Seismic retrofitting work is most often concerned with saving lives. But in cases of infrastructure, or historic structures, saving the structure, and making sure that it can operate after an earthquake is also important. Three California case histories show how engineers are preparing some important structures for the next major earthquake. In San Francisco, studies of the Golden Gate Bridge have shown that extensive seismic retrofitting work will be required to protect it from the nearby San Andreas and Hayward faults. T. Y. Lin International, San Francisco, which led the study of the bridge, is developing some of the plans for the scheduled $128 million project. In Beverly Hills, 9720 Wilshire Boulevard, one of noted architect Edward Durell Stone's historic buildings was retrofitted by Morely Construction, Santa Monica. While the owner wanted to protect the building, they also stipulated that no visible changes could be made to the exterior. And in Big Bear, the Bear Valley dam recently proved the worth of a two-year old retrofitting scheme by surviving not one, but two, strong earthquakes that struck within hours of each other. The state Department of Water Resources' Division of Safety of Dams, oversaw work that converted the concrete multiple-arch dam into a gravity structure, and included improvements that will allow the dam to survive a design storm and safely pass a 100-year flood.

Subject Headings: Concrete dams | Gravity dams | Case studies | Earthquakes | Structural safety | Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Rehabilitation | California | United States

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