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Are Coquitlam bridges safe in an earthquake? Engineers are checking for seismic vulnerability

The City of Coquitlam assessment will also include an evaluation of the soil conditions under each structure.
Engineers with the City of Coquitlam applied for $25,000 from the Union of BC Municipalities to study the seismic vulnerability of bridges and overpasses in the municipality.

Coquitlam is taking a look at its bridges and overpasses to see how fit they are if an earthquake strikes.

City engineers and consultants are now scanning the infrastructure as part of the Seismic Risk Assessment of Bridges Project.

And city council is backing the work by supporting a bid to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) for a matching $25,000 grant.

At its last meeting of the year on Dec. 12, council unanimously voted to endorse the grant application that’s due on Dec. 29.

In his report, Jaime Boan, Coquitlam’s general manager of engineering and public works, did not name the structures being studied.

However, he wrote that the review started in July on the earthquake readiness of bridges as “previously noted as having a medium- to high-risk of seismic vulnerability.”

In addition, the assessment will include an evaluation of the soil conditions under each structure.

Once the study is complete, city staff will prioritize which bridges are in need of a retrofit or replacement.

The UBCM Asset Management Planning Program was created in 2014 with a $1.5 million grant from B.C.’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Since then, it has contributed $2.75 million more for planning grants, training subsidies and the development of asset management resources.

Between 2014 and 2021, UBCM approved funds for the following Tri-City municipalities:

  • Belcarra: $21,450
  • Coquitlam: $10,000
  • Port Coquitlam: $30,000
  • Port Moody: $20,825

• To learn more about how to keep safe during an earthquake, visit the provincial government website.