The risk associated with earthquake hazards on highway systems is dependent on the complexity of a network and its redundancy in providing traffic flow. Earthquake loss estimation studies can provide decision makers with an appreciation of the importance of having a highway network resistant to earthquakes and information to make the network resistant to these events. The direct economic loss was estimated for a major metropolitan area, St. Louis, for a series of earthquake scenarios. The primary component of the study was damage to bridges within the highway system. The study zone covers the St. Louis metropolitan area and its surrounding suburban regions. The study region includes several major alluvial river valleys with liquefaction susceptible areas. Earthquake scenarios with epicenters in St. Louis (MW 7.0), Germantown, Ill. (MW 7.0) and New Madrid, Mo. (MW 7.7) were selected to contrast high impact/low probability and low impact/higher probability events. The losses to the bridge infrastructure were estimated to range from $70 to $800 million depending on the earthquake event. The data collection, generation, and interpretation are described along with the procedures required to carry out the loss estimation using the geographic information system-based HAZUS-MH system. The output of this project was used as input for a hybrid indirect loss calculation presented in the companion paper.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Bridges; Damage; Earthquakes; Estimation; St. Louis (Mo.)

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2008 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2008