Road to Recovery

by Ray Zelinski, (F.ASCE), Design Engr.; Sacramento, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 4, Pg. 36-39

Document Type: Feature article


The effect of the Loma Prieta earthquake on San Francisco's elevated viaduct system is still being felt more than four years later. Immediately after the quake, the entire 19 mi viaduct system was shut down due to concern about public safety. Most of the single-level viaducts were reopened to traffic within five days, but the $191 million effort to reopen and reconstruct the double-deck sections will continue until late 1997. That program is part of an overall $562 million plan to seismically retrofit the city's entire viaduct system and has required not only innovative structural engineering but also attention to nonstructural issues, such as transportation-demand management and environmental impacts. Before reconstruction could begin, a peer-review panel of practicing professional engineers and university professors was assembled to critique the retrofit solutions proposed by Caltrans and its consultants. After rejecting steel-jacket retrofit for the viaducts, the panel approved a strut-beam concept that was melded with other ideas into a system that became known as the edge-beam retrofit. Now, a similar panel has been assembled in Los Angeles to review replacement designs for the bridges that collapsed during the January 1994 earthquake.

Subject Headings: Viaducts | Rehabilitation | Highways and roads | Earthquakes | Public health and safety | Consulting services | Panels (structural) | Bridge design | Los Angeles | California | United States

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