Earthquake testing underway at UNR

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) The University of Nevada Reno conducted two tests Friday to measure how new technology holds up in earthquake simulation. The tests mimicked the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake, and has been three years in the making.

"What we're doing is integrating six types of connections that have been used in precast concrete bridges," Saiid Saiidi, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UNR, says. "They have been tested individually but never together on a real earthquake shake table."

Students and researchers say their aim is to make this the new standard for bridge technology and construction. Caltrans funded the project and has already implemented some of the technology.

"They have taken the results of our previous research and they have implemented it in two bridges," Saiidi says. "One already completed and one under construction in Bakersfield."

The first simulation mimicked a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and the second approximately a 7.5.

"We do have some damage but it's all concentrated in the columns and as you can see the bridge is still standing," Jared Jones, a student researcher, says. Jones says these connections allow for quick and easy repairs.

"If it's a small earthquake event then you can just go in and repair your column," Jones says. "But if it's large enough to cause damage to the columns then you'd temporarily support your bridge, replace the columns and it's good to go and it's not as expensive as having to tear out and completely build a new bridge."