University of Washington researchers developed information tools to increase the speed and efficiency of Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) post-earthquake response and recovery efforts. The researchers upgraded the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network (PNSN) ground-motion processing software to rapidly generate and disseminate “ShakeMaps,” which are maps of earthquake intensity. The researchers also implemented two procedures to estimate the likelihood of slight (or greater) bridge damage; these procedures are based on the intensity of earthquake shaking (obtained from the ShakeMaps) and on each bridge’s location, year of construction, and bridge type (obtained from the Washington State Bridge Inventory). The first procedure, developed at the University of Washington, is based on observations of bridge damage from the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. The second procedure is contained in the Federal Emergency Management Agency HAZUS software for predicting the lowest level of damage.
Shortly following an earthquake, e-mail and pager alert messages will be sent to WSDOT personnel notifying them of the preliminary earthquake magnitude and epicenter. ShakeMaps and a prioritized list of bridges (ranked by likelihood of bridge damage) will be available on a Web server at the University of Washington and will be pushed to a WSDOT FTP server.