Simulation shows Burnside Bridge crumble in earthquake

Only the Sellwood and Tilikum Crossing bridges would withstand an earthquake

View of the Burnside Bridge on June 6, 2017. (KOIN)
View of the Burnside Bridge on June 6, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County has released video simulating what would happen to the Burnside Bridge if a magnitude 8-plus earthquake were to happen.

It’s not pretty.

Officials say the 90-year-old bridge is a lifeline as a major route for emergency responders in a catastrophe — but it doesn’t stand much of a chance.

So work is underway to figure out how to make sure it doesn’t crumble. County officials have been looking at possible ideas since last year, including upgrading the bridge as it is and completely replacing it.

“If you think about your own life, you might work on one side of the river and live on the other, you might have a family member who does and we’re all going to want to get home after that earthquake happens whenever it does happen,” Mike Pollen said.

Right now, officials say only the new Sellwood Bridge and Tilikum Crossing would survive a massive quake, further emphasizing the need to get something done with the Burnside Bridge. Officials say it’s too early to say how any work could be funded until a final design or plan is approved.

This fall the county will seek public feedback on its ideas and the study is expected to be completed in fall of 2018.