From: Stanford University
Published April 28, 2017 04:45 PM

When bridges collapse: Stanford researchers study whether we're underestimating the risk

The United States is considering a $1 trillion budget proposal to update infrastructure, including its crumbling bridges. An obstacle to spending the money wisely is that the current means of assessing bridges may underestimate their vulnerability, according to a new study published in the Journal of Infrastructure Systems. 

Case in point is a bridge along California’s iconic Big Sur coast, which collapsed in March, isolating communities and costing local businesses millions of dollars. Although California’s recent unprecedented rains were likely to damage infrastructure, standard risk assessments made it hard to identify which bridges were most vulnerable.

“This winter in California has highlighted the vulnerabilities of our nation’s infrastructure,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford and the Kimmelman Family Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “Updating our infrastructure will require both making up for deferred maintenance, and preparing for the increasing risk of extreme events that comes along with global warming.”

Continue reading at Stanford University

Image: Old Route 49 bridge crossing over the South Yuba River in Nevada City, Calif. saw local and regional visitors during the atmospheric river event across Northern California on January 9, 2017. (Image credit: Kelly M. Grow / California Department of Water Resources)

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