Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Shaking Up Protocol: State May Hire Firm to Write Guidelines for Post-Quake Bridge Inspections

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Shaking Up Protocol: State May Hire Firm to Write Guidelines for Post-Quake Bridge Inspections

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Transportation Commission will vote Monday on whether to hire an engineering firm to write post- earthquake bridge inspection procedures.

The firm would also research how earthquakes affect the state's infrastructure. Staff at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will recommend Infrastructure Engineers Inc. as the primary contractor. Working with it will be two University of Oklahoma professors and Kleinfelder, a geotechnical engineering firm.

The contract's value would not exceed $570,000.

Terri Angier, ODOT spokeswoman, said the department has reacted cautiously to earthquakes.

"As Oklahoma began to have more and more of these earthquakes, it caught our attention," she said.

When the increase in observable earthquakes began, department employees were dispatched after magnitude 3 or greater temblors to check each state bridge within 5 miles of the epicenter.

"If we see something suspect, then we expand that to a 10-mile radius," Angier said.

After asking their counterparts in California, ODOT decided not to send anyone out unless a magnitude 4 quake hits.

"Frankly, they kind of laughed at us because we were being overly overcautious," she said.

In California, transportation inspectors typically aren't sent out until an earthquake reaches magnitude 5, Angier said.

In contrast, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District sends inspectors to its dams if someone there feels the earthquake, or if a dam is within 10 miles of a 4.5-magnitude earthquake. As the magnitude of the earthquakes increase, so does the radius of inspection. …

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