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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 22, Number 1, December 2008

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Volume 22, Number 1, December 2008

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SCDOT Hosts Sixth National Seismic Conference

Theme of Seismic Technologies for Extreme Events Attracts over 300 Participants

This year’s Sixth National Conference on Bridges and Highways was hosted by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and held in Charleston, a city prone to earthquakes and hurricanes. The 300-plus bridge engineers and other transportation professionals in attendance were treated to a first-hand look at SCDOT’s approach to protecting infrastructure from multiple extreme events. Held July 27-30, 2008, the conference continued a series of biennial meetings organized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and MCEER, University at Buffalo.

Three plenary sessions with international keynote speakers and fourteen technical sessions supported the theme “Seismic Technologies for Extreme Loads.” Invited speakers included H.B. “Buck” Limehouse, Jr., South Carolina’s Secretary of Transportation; Honorary Conference Chair King W. Gee, FHWA’s Associate Administrator for Infrastructure; Conference Chair W. Philip Yen, FHWA’s Seismic Specialist; Pradeep Talwani, Professor of Geophysics at the University of South Carolina; Gian Michele Calvi, Professor at the University of Pavia, Italy; and Julio Kuroiwa, Professor Emeritus at Peru’s National University of Engineering. Kehai Wang, Chief Bridge Research Engineer at the Research Institute of Highways, Ministry of Communications and Transportation in China, led a plenary session focused on extensive highway infrastructure damage following the May 12, 2008 earthquake.

Technical sessions featured topics including seismic accelerated bridge construction, new geo-seismic practice and guidelines, and lessons learned from recent earthquakes and other extreme events.

Two James Cooper best paper awards were presented. Mark Veletzos and Jose I. Restrepo, University of California at San Diego, won the structural category for “The Influence of Vertical Earthquake Motion and Pre-earthquake Stress State on the Seismic Response of Precast Segmental Bridge Superstructures.” The geotechnical award went to Kyle Rollins, Brigham Young University; Seth Bowles, Wright Engineers; Luke Hales, ExxonMobil; and Scott Ashford, Oregon State University for “Static and Dynamic Lateral Load Tests in Liquefied Sand for the Cooper River Bridge, Charleston, South Carolina.”

The best poster award went to “Post-Earthquake Bridge Repair Cost Evaluation Methodology,” by Kevin Mackie, University of Central Florida; and John Michael Wong and Bozidar Stojadinovic, University of California, Berkeley.
Five undergraduate teams participated in the student bridge design competition, which was won by the University of Missouri - Columbia.
Nineteen companies, including engineering and design firms, manufacturers of seismic products and testing specialists displayed booths in the exhibit area. The conference concluded with a Technical Boat Tour of SCDOT’s newly constructed Ravenel Bridge.

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The conference was supported by two platinum sponsors, the Center for Transportation Infrastructure & Safety, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Other sponsors included S&ME, Inc., T.Y. Lin International, CH2MHill, Florence & Hutchenson, Inc., HDR Engineering, The LPA Group, STV, Weidlinger Associates Inc., Wilbur Smith Associates, Bridge Design & Engineering, and Taylor & Francis Group. Supporting Organizations included AASHTO, ASCE, EERI, PEER, PCA, SEASC, and SC Emergency Management Division.