The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is getting help to figure out how to handle earthquakes when it comes to the state's bridges. The Transportation Commission approved spending more than half a million dollars on a consultant Monday.
Last year, ODOT got advice from the California Department of Transportation on inspecting bridges following an earthquake. Currently, inspectors check bridges in a five mile radius after a 4.0 or larger quake. The consultant would take that practice to the next level. The Transportation Commission approved spending up to $570,000 to hire a firm that will draft an inspection protocol, provide training, evaluate Oklahoma bridges for seismic vulnerability, and even come up with an earthquake response plan for the future.
“Earthquakes are new to all of us, this will help us understand them better, how it impacts our infrastructure,” said ODOT Spokesperson Terri Angier. “What do we do to protect them better, if there's something we're not doing? Perhaps what do we look for that might be faster in determining if that was an earthquake impact or not.”
The department selected a group called ‘Infrastructure Engineers' to handle the project. They have an office in Edmond.