55 Structures Given “A Clean Bill of Health”

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) recently completed 160 hours of bridge inspections following a May 22 earthquake in Caliente. Department policy requires that every structure within a 50-mile radius of the epicenter be inspected following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake or higher.

Two teams of engineers consequently examined 55 bridges throughout Clark and Lincoln counties, covering such communities as Caliente, Pahrump, Overton, Mesquite, Bunkerville, Alamo, Pioche, and Rose Valley. Inspectors looked for quake-related delaminations, cracks, misaligned bridge members, displacement, and settlement, among other things.

“Engineers thoroughly examined all state bridges within a 50-mile radius of the quake epicenter, looking for any deformities,” said NDOT spokesman Tony Illia. “Happily, every bridge inspected was found to be structural sound and safe for public travel.”

Nevada has the best rated bridges in the country with the fewest amount of structural deficiencies, said the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) in January. Less than two percent of state bridge bridges are rated “structurally deficient,” which is one-third the national average. “Deficient” describes bridges needing rehabilitation or potential replacement, but are not necessarily unsafe or dangerous. Nevada has built 295 new bridges and reconstructed another 21 bridges since 2004, the reports states.

“NDOT inspects 1,900 bridges statewide a minimum of every two years, including most city and county-maintained structures. Deteriorating bridges are inspected more frequently,” Illia said. “State bridges are carefully engineered to withstand rigorous wind and earthquake loading.”

Further details from the ARTBA report can be found at: www.artba.com/economics/bridges