Infrastructure Failures

Key Points

  • Infrastructure is the network of structures, utilities, and facilities that supply and support our basic needs for mobility, power, water, sewer, and communications.

  • This chapter covers large, complex infrastructure failures that are not triggered by some other hazard (e.g., an earthquake). Failures to digital and communications infrastructure is discussed in the cyber-attack and disruption chapter.

  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gives the infrastructure of the United States an overall D+ grade and estimates it will cost $2 trillion to fix. The ASCE gives Washington a C grade, with the main concerns being roads and mass transit.

  • Infrastructure can be damaged during construction, such as a contractor breaking a water main; or fail after construction due to a design flaw, such as the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940.

  • Occasionally, our understanding of a threat to infrastructure becomes clear only after we build it. This has occurred with many bridges built in the early 20th century before Seattle was aware of its earthquake risk.

To read more about Infrastructure Failures click here

Emergency Management

Curry Mayer, Director
Address: 105 5th Ave S, Suite 300, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 233-5076
Fax: (206) 684-5998

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