PennDOT Inspecting Bridges After Earthquake
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – PennDOT crews have been inspecting local bridges after tremors from an earthquake in Virginia were felt around the area Tuesday afternoon.
No problems have been reported after visual checks of state highway bridges in District 11 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Any bridge that is longer than 200 feet and is over 60 feet high is being checked. The visual checks should be completed by the end of the day.
“Basically, they want us checking all the interstate bridges … larger bridges, any bridges with rocker bearings,” Harry Smeltzer, a PennDOT bridge engineer, said.
Rocker bearings allow for the natural movement of the bridge, but an earthquake can move them too far and put the bridge at risk.
“We just want to make sure these rockers are still upright and haven’t been pushed over by the earthquake,” Smeltzer explained.
So far, no post-quake problems have been found.
The epicenter of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake was located about 87 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. near Mineral, Va.
Tremors from the quake were felt all over the east coast, which prompted many office buildings to be evacuated.
While the public may have only felt it for 20 seconds in Pittsburgh, it was still registering on the seismograph 30 minutes later at the University of Pittsburgh.
The earthquake released the energy equivalent of 11 kilotons of dynamite.