ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – By now you’ve seen the images of utter devastation caused by the New Zealand earthquake.
Now local highway engineers are revealing how strong of a quake a major area bridge should be able to withstand following a retrofitting project.
Officials with MoDOT claim that with its new, wider bases, steel jackets and metal crossbars, the elevated double decks of the Poplar Street Bridge downtown will stand up to an earthquake ranging from 4.0 to 6.5 on the Richter Scale.
“So it’s not to say there won’t be any structural fallacies on the bridge once an earthquake happens, but it will prevent the top deck and the bottom deck from collapsing,” MoDOT area engineer Deanna Venker tells KMOX News.
It is worth noting that in October 1989, 42 motorists were killed when the double deck highway in Oakland California collapsed during a quake that measures 7.1 on the Richter Scale — bigger than the one MoDOT is bracing for here.
Meanwhile, drivers can expect lane closures through 2013 as crews make repairs to the PSB.
MoDOT officials say the bridge is past due for maintenance work and they can’t wait until the New Mississippi River Bridge opens in 2014 to start on the PSB.
News clip from the 1989 Oakland, California earthquake
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