We can all agree that hundreds of millions of people crossing falling bridges in earthquake-prone California is not safe.
Yet today, California is home to nearly 2,000 structurally deficient bridges. Five of the top ten most traveled structurally deficient bridges in the country are in Southern California, with a combined average daily travel of 1.25 million drivers.
That’s why last week, we launched the Fix Every Bridge campaign to advocate for spending in the State budget to repair and upgrade all the aging bridges in our community and across the state.
Today, we want to look back at one of the costliest natural disasters in California history, the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.
On January 17, 1994, at 4:31 am, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake shook the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. Dozens of people were killed and more than 9,000 were injured. In addition, property damage was estimated to be $20 million – the most expensive U.S. natural disaster until Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — plus $29 billion in economic losses.
Seven major freeway bridges collapsed and close to 200 bridges were damaged including the Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate Highway 10) and the Antelope Valley Freeway (State Route 14)-Golden State Freeway (I-5) interchange. These are some of the most traveled freeways in the world.
The Northridge earthquake was significant, however, it was not the “Big One” which is expected to be 44 times stronger. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, if that earthquake occurs, 1,800 people could die, buildings could collapse, an estimated $200 billion in damage could be done and conflagrations could break out.
At a time of unprecedented budget surplus in California, we can’t wait for earthquakes or tragedy to fix our bridges. The time to act is now.
Visit www.Rebuildsocal.org/fixeverybridge to let your California representative know that you support fixing California’s bridges.
And, learn more about the important role bridges play in our everyday lives on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.