Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) is expected to produce a Magnitude 9 earthquake that can adversely affect the transportation networks in the Pacific Northwest (PACNW). This includes highway bridges specifically the ones crossing the Columbia and Willamette rivers and along the I-5 corridor. Of particular interest to state DOTs in PACNW (ODOT, WSDOT, Caltrans) is the effects of soil liquefaction on bridge foundations. To evaluate these effects, we perform laboratory tests using an advanced testing equipment recently purchased at PSU called Cyclic Direct Simple Shear (CDSS). Arrangements have been made by ODOT to send soil samples from silty soils in Willamette Valley to PSU for testing. The results will help reduce uncertainty in evaluating the behavior of regional silty soils under earthquake loading. These findings will be used by ODOT design engineers and consultants to better assess the potential and consequences of liquefaction on bridge foundations.
To fulfill these tasks, we have started training an undergraduate CEE student (Melissa Preciado) to perform these advanced tests at PSU. She was hired by the PI during Summer and Fall of 2017 and was partially supported by the PI’s previous NITC Diversity Grant. This enabled her to get proper training to perform these advanced tests. This grant also helped her connect to many professionals in the Portland metro area who are involved in transportation projects. She has decided to pursue a graduate degree at PSU and continue conducting these tests for her MS research. Being able to get another NITC Diversity Grant will help support her appointment during Summer 2018 to go beyond training and perform production tests. This will also help her establish herself as an expert in this subject in our region. She will be co-advised by Dr. Diane Moug, a new assistant professor at CEE.