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Chapter B. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Highway Systems

April 1, 1998

This paper summarizes the impact of the Loma Prieta earthquake on highway systems. City streets, urban freeways, county roads, state routes, and the national highway system were all affected. There was damage to bridges, roads, tunnels, and other highway structures. The most serious damage occurred in the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, 60 miles from the fault rupture. The cost to repair and replace highways damaged by this earthquake was $2 billion. About half of this cost was to replace the Cypress Viaduct, a long, elevated double-deck expressway that had a devastating collapse which resulted in 42 deaths and 108 injuries. The earthquake also resulted in some positive changes for highway systems. Research on bridges and earthquakes began to be funded at a much higher level. Retrofit programs were started to upgrade the seismic performance of the nation's highways. The Loma Prieta earthquake changed earthquake policy and engineering practice for highway departments not only in California, but all over the world.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1998
Title Chapter B. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Highway Systems
DOI 10.3133/pp1552B
Authors Mark Yashinsky
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Professional Paper
Series Number 1552
Index ID pp1552B
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Hazards Program; Earthquake Science Center