They do, however, help to compensate for seismic vibrations by allowing the building to move with the ground. Vibrations were also absorbed by earthquake-resistant foundations. Overall, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is built to resist winds of up to 180 mph and earthquakes of up to 8.5 on the Richter Scale. It is considered one of the most powerful bridges in Japan.
The bridge's design incorporates many innovative features, such as vertical joints that limit horizontal movement of the deck after an earthquake. The bridge has been praised for its aesthetic qualities and its contribution to wildlife conservation due to its proximity to the Japanese coast. It also provides a safe crossing for whales migrating between feeding grounds and birthing sites near Tokyo.
The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge was completed in 2005 and has become a symbol of friendship between Japan and South Korea. It connects the cities of Akiachio and Asagaya in the special administrative region of Tokyo on the eastern edge of the capital city of Seoul. The distance between the two cities is only 9 miles (14 km).
It costs about $140 million to build this bridge because it is made of steel and concrete. However, if it were not for the fact that it is located in an area prone to earthquakes, it could have been built with more affordable materials.
The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is located in a seismically active area that also receives some of the most violent storms on the planet. Engineers employed a sophisticated system of counterweights, pendulums, and steel-truss girders to allow the bridge to resist gusts of up to 290 km/h (180 miles/h). The maximum design load is divided between the two towers evenly, so each one can support nearly 2 million pounds.
The world's longest suspension bridge, it links Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture with central Tokyo. Opened in 2016, it extends 991 meters (3281 feet) over the Pacific Ocean. It connects with three other bridges in its vicinity, forming a loop route across the bay. No single structure could have been designed to handle the winds that now blow across the Kaikyo Bridge; rather, its engineers used technology available at the time to come up with a solution that would work best overall.
The bridge has nine large cables that are attached to anchors embedded in the ground on either side of the strait. These cables carry the weight of the deck above, which consists of more than 4 million square meters of glass fiber-reinforced plastic. The center portion of the bridge is closed to traffic. However, pedestrians and cyclists are allowed on the outside lanes, which are separated from the median by a fence. A small number of vehicles are also used as rolling offices for employees who work near the middle of the bridge.
Bridges are not designed depending on earthquake magnitudes. Instead of absorbing the ground tremors, localize the damage to specific regions of the structure, so that when the big one strikes, it will not only still be standing, but will also help people in need. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is being retrofitted with seismic upgrades to make it more quake resistant.
The project will cost about $600 million and is expected to be completed by 2020. The first step will be to replace the bridge's aging concrete piers with steel piers, which will be anchored into deep basements built below sea level. The replacement piers will be made out of stacked horizontal rings connected by vertical members. Each new pier will be 30 feet wide and sit about 328 feet below street level. The second phase will include the addition of rubber dampeners between each pair of columns, to absorb energy during an earthquake.
People living in the surrounding areas can feel the effects of major earthquakes up to 20 miles away. The ground under bridges can move by as much as 8 inches during a strong earthquake, and since most bridges were not designed to withstand such forces, they may suffer damage that needs to be repaired or replaced.
Bridges are known for their size and vision, but they are also susceptible to damage from large earthquakes.