Seismic Vulnerability of the Highway System

Task G3-3:  International Workshop on Lessons Learned from Recent Earthquakes- KGM/FHWA U.S.-Turkey Workshop

Subject Area:  Technology Exchange and Transfer

Principal Investigator(s) and Institution(s)
Michael S. Higgins, MCEER

Objective and Approach:

An international workshop on lessons learned from recent earthquakes will be held November 6 - 10, 2000.  The host institution will be the KGM, the Turkish Road Directorate, a Turkish organization equivalent to the USDOT's FHWA.  It will provide a forum for the discussion and exchange of information about recent and future developments in the mitigation of seismic effects on transportation structures, and the promotion of international cooperation and research in this area.  

The Kocaeli (8/17/99) and the Duzce (11/12/99) earthquakes in Turkey provide the opportunity for MCEER to study important lessons about how the United States' highway bridges and structures will perform in major earthquakes. The Kocaeli and Duzce earthquakes were both along the North Anatolian Fault Zone.  This fault zone has characteristics and behavior very similar to California's San Andreas fault.  Furthermore, in recent years the Turkish bridges were designed to AASHTO specifications, which is the specification also used for US bridges.   

Topics pertinent to MCEER research under this FHWA contract (DTFH61-98-C-00094- Project 094) that will be discussed during the workshop include:

1)       Near fault effects- After several destructive earthquakes in metropolitan areas, it has been recognized that structures near the active fault may experience a displacement pulse of relatively long period and high amplitude.  Such pulses could be extremely detrimental to flexible structures (those with a long natural period).  These types of structures include isolated bridges and long span bridges.  Under its present FHWA Project 094 contract (Task C2-1), MCEER is investigating near fault effects.  In both of the Turkey earthquakes, infrastructure, including bridges, situated in near fault zones were extensively damaged.  Consequently, lessons learned during the Turkey earthquakes are invaluable to the MCEER research on near fault effects.

2)       Earthquake protective systems- Multiple bridges in Turkey that utilized isolation systems were subjected to strong ground motions during these earthquakes.  These systems performed with varying degrees of success.  The lessons learned by the performance of these devices is crucial for verifying theoretical assumptions made in MCEER tasks related to earthquake protective systems.  Specifically, Task D1-1 is focused on reviewing the performance of isolated bridges that have been subjected to strong ground motions. Presently on-going Tasks D1-2 and D2-1 and potential future Tasks D2-2 and D2-3 all relate to developing improved earthquake protective systems.  In addition, Task D3-1 is producing an interim design manual covering these types of devices.  The Principal Investigators (PIs) for all of these tasks will benefit by a better understanding of how these systems performed in the subject earthquakes.

3)       Hazard and risk analysis- an important part of MCEER's FHWA Project 094 contract is to refine, extend, and improve the state of practice for hazard and risk analysis (Task B).  The KGM recognized the hazard that their structures may be subjected to strong ground motions resulting from earthquakes.  This is evident due to their use of earthquake protective systems and other earthquake resistant design features.  MCEER's PIs on Task B will benefit from determining how the KGM screened their structures for retrofit or improved design and what lessons they learned during the subject earthquakes.

4)       Geotechnical issues related to bridge foundations- several subtasks under MCEER's present FHWA Project 094 contract relate to the performance of bridge foundations when subjected to strong ground motions. Subtasks C2-1, C2-2 and all subtasks under Task E investigate this topic area.The subject workshop will spend time focusing on lessons learned in this topic area during the Turkey earthquakes, which may improve the future direction of these tasks.

5)       Other topic areas of interest- the Turkey earthquakes also offer the opportunity to review several other topic areas of importance to America's highway system.  For instance invaluable lessons were learned regarding the performance of tunnels, precast prestressed concrete, and response techniques. Tunnels were an important part of another MCEER FHWA contract (DTFH 61-92-R-00106- Project 106). Furthermore, precast prestressed concrete is now a major form of construction for many bridges across the United States. This is also a major form of construction in Turkey. It is important to learn how this type of construction performs in an earthquake.  Also pre-earthquake and post-earthquake response techniques were included in the retrofit manual under the Project 106 contract. Turkey was recognized for being successful at both of these aspects and understanding the response plan of Turkish engineers is important to verify the results of Project 106.  To most effectively meet the objectives of MCEER's present FHWA Project 094 contract, it is important for MCEER to learn about these topic areas to ensure there are no problems in the retrofit manual and to provide input to the future direction of research.

Since workshop attendance by MCEER will benefit multiple tasks of its present Project 094 contract as outlined above, funds provided under this task will be used for the travel and accommodation of 5 members of the U.S. delegation who were selected based on their expertise.  These members will be responsible for reporting pertinent information to the Research Committee, who will take the information into consideration when discussing the future direction of research conducted under the contract.

Anticipated Start Date and Duration
October 1, 2000   5 Months