Infrastructure Failure

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Mercer Slough Oct. 2017.JPG

Infrastructure includes the utilities and services that provide for basic needs like transportation, energy, water, sewage, and communications. Failure of these services would lead to significant consequences to the economy and health of the community. Washington has had some past experiences with infrastructure failure including the I-5 Skagit River Bridge collapse in 2013 and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse in 1940. Both of these events caused massive transportation issues and serve as reminders of the consequences following infrastructure failure.

Most of the infrastructure built in the United States occurred in the 1950’s and many of these structures and utilities are starting to show their age. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the United States infrastructure a D grade and estimates it would take $2.2 billion dollars to fix it. Washington infrastructure concerns mostly include roads, bridges and mass transit.

Washington is at particular risk for a 9.0 earthquake and there has been much attention recently about how most buildings, roads and bridges in the state are significantly unequipped to be able withstand a large earthquake. A lot of infrastructure was built before there was awareness of Washington earthquake susceptibility, but the consequences still exist if infrastructure isn’t updated and improved.

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