The bridge replacement project for the Gerald Desmond Bridge over the Port of Long Beach is being built with about 75 seismic sensors that will measure the forces imparted on the span when one of several nearby faults set off an earthquake.
The new bridge, which will stretch 8,800 ft over the Port of Long Beach, is due to open next year, and spans a crucial route for cargo trucks and Southern California commuters.
While other state structures have been outfitted with quake sensors (called accelerometers) in the past, the building of the new Long Beach span marks the first time the sensors have been incorporated into the design of a California bridge from day one.
The span is just a few miles from two active faults—Newport-Inglewood and Palos Verdes—capable of quakes in the range of magnitude 6.5 to 7. And the infamous San Andreas mega-fault is only about 50 miles away at its closest point.
Data recorded by the sensors, which include a quake's magnitude along with how fast the ground is moving and at what trajectory it hits the bridge, are sent via the state's Integrated Seismic Network to scientists at state offices in Sacramento as well as the University of California, Berkeley and Pasadena's California Institute of Technology.
Source: AP / WSB Radio