Seismic Hazard Assessment of Oregon Highways

Peter Dusicka, Portland State University


  • John Gliebe, Resource Systems Group, INC


This research project developed a seismic risk assessment model along the major truck routes in Oregon. The study had adopted federally developed software tools called Risk for Earthquake Damage to Roadway Systems (REDARS2) and HAZUS-MH. The model was the first time REDARS2 has been adopted and used in research outside of the original development team, presenting a number of unique challenges. The development of the model was a complex, intensive process that required a significant research effort, manipulation and adjustment of data. Furthermore, limitations of the software tools themselves had been identified that prevented the inclusion of important aspects such as liquefaction induced damage and refinement of the transportation network. The main objective of this research were to refine the data from a first generation of the model to more realistically represent the bridge inventory, to address the seismicity of the Pacific Northwest, conduct sensitivity analyses of soil data on the analyses results and develop a seismic network model of Oregon bridges for purposes of assessing the seismic vulnerability of roadway segments. The first generation model relied on default settings within the program to determine the economic loss due to repair and replacement of damaged bridges. The assumptions used in the analyses have been reviewed and Oregon specific data was incorporated for the model. The largest earthquake now considered to be at a highest level of probability in the Pacific Northwest is a subduction zone earthquake. The major shortcoming of REDARS2 is its inability to incorporate the subduction zone attenuation relationship into the analysis. To incorporate that capability into the model, shakemaps were developed by USGS for Cascadia subduction zone scenario events and incorporated as the demand on the refined model. Analyses of the transportation network incorporating bridge routes and post processing of the data with input from Oregon DOT bridge engineers resulted in recommendations toward bridge route priority strategies. The majority of the bridges that indicated the possibility of damage were types associated with multi-column bents, simply-supported concrete superstructures and simply-supported steel superstructures. Of the major highway routes that were considered, I-405, section of I-5 (from Multnomah to Clackamas Counties), I-84, I-205 and US-101 were the top five on the preliminary priority for seismic retrofit. These routes need to be analyzed more and advanced cost-benefit investigations should be done before retrofit decisions are made.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
June 30,2011
UTC Grant Cycle:
OTREC 2009
UTC Funding:

Other Products

  • “Seismic Vulnerability of Oregon Bridges: Mitigation Strategies to Reduce Major Mobility Risks”, report published by Oregon Department of Transportation, Bridge Engineering Section, Oct. 2009. (PUBLICATION)