Posts Tagged ‘destroyed roads in Japan’

Context for Transportation Infrastructure Damage in Japan

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Author: Justin Krometis, Transportation Analyst, IEM

Highway systems are always vulnerable to large disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Resulting consequences include bridge damage, roadway structure failure, and landslides.

A worker inspects a caved-in section of the Joban Motorway near Mito.

A worker inspects a caved-in section of the Joban Motorway near Mito. Credits: Nexco/AP

To help provide context for the massive amounts of roadway infrastructure damage caused in Japan, here are some historic examples of disasters and the impacts to transportation routes:


At 08:07 a.m. local time on December 26, 2004, a large-scale earthquake with magnitude 9.0 occurred at the western coast of Northern Sumatra Island, Indonesia. The earthquake generated a tsunami with wave height exceeding 20 m. According to a damage investigation in the city of Banda Aceh on the North Sumatra Island of Indonesia after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, researchers concluded that the primary damage to the highway bridges included the washout of bridge superstructures by tsunami waves. Because of the tsunami, 56.6 km of the 250 km seaside road outside Banda Aceh became impassable and 126.7 km was seriously damaged. Eighty-one out of 186 bridges (43.5 percent) along the roads were washed out or heavily damaged. (more…)