[This article originally appeared in the November 2014 newsletter.]
Because of an increased awareness of seismic activity, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) expanded its requirements for bridge safety during earthquakes nationwide in 2009. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) responded with an innovative approach to improve bridge safety—the Earthquake Resisting System. The idea of this new design was to allow bearing anchorages to fracture during an earthquake and rely on the subsequent bearing deformation and sliding to accommodate seismic demands. Hence, the overall goal is to ensure that even in the event of a major earthquake, Illinois bridges will not collapse.