Oregon Coast

Seaside's bridges, roads would have high mortality rates

SEASIDE, Ore. (AP) -- Researchers at Oregon State University say some Seaside bridges and roads should be prioritized for improvement after a simulation discovered they would have higher mortality rates in an earthquake and tsunami.

According to experts, people would have less than half an hour to run to safety from the beach if there was a tsunami warning. However, the OSU study shows how people could end up picking a way out that would actually leave them trapped.

The researchers found that the bridge on Broadway Street over Neawanna Creek would result in the most fatalities. The two bridges on 12th Street, the bridge on Sundquist Road and Ocean Vista Drive in the Cove were also flagged for improvement.

Seaside City Councilor Tom Horning, who is also a geologist, said the city has been replacing bridges, but said they need federal funding and for the city to make choices. He looked at the Broadway Bridge as an example.

"It's not earthquake-proof, it will collapse in an earthquake, but it's in the middle of town and economically important [because] we don't want to close down traffic," Horning said. "We will sacrifice it and steer people to one block down that was replaced.

"We need more money from the feds and the state."

Horning also said city council is working on how to find funding to replace the bridges.

Researchers say the bridges and roads are high priorities to retrofit not because of relative proximity to areas where people live and gather, making them some of the most populated evacuation routes.  They also fall in the path of where tsunami inundation will most likely occur.

KOIN 6 News Reporter Lisa Balick contributed to this report


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