Seismic risk found in San Francisco’s waterfront foundation, report shows

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A major earthquake could significantly impact the foundation of San Francisco’s waterfront more than previously thought, perhaps even rendering The Embarcadero nonfunctional, a new report shows.

Invisible to the thousands of people who enter and leave The City each day via the three-mile stretch of the northern waterfront, the seawall is a critical piece of infrastructure that, at more than a century old, is in dire need of billions of dollars of repairs.

About $2 billion alone is needed to fix the seawall that stretches between Fisherman’s Wharf and AT&T Park, an area that contains some of the most valuable land in the world, according to the “Earthquake Vulnerability Study of the Northern Waterfront” report.

“We can definitely say a large earthquake, [magnitude] 7 or above, on the San Andreas fault will likely cause movement of the seawall,” said Steven Reel, a project manager for the Port of San Francisco.

The impact of such a quake could move the seawall several feet, which could lead to cracks in The Embarcadero, possibly impacting transportation, damaging buildings and leaving utilities vulnerable.

“The Embarcadero roadway may or may not be usable after that event,” Reel said of a major earthquake.

Commissioned for $500,000 in 2014, the report is the most extensive study the Port has conducted on seismic safety of The City’s waterfront. A team of geotechnical and civil engineers used existing data to create a three-dimensional picture of the subsurface beneath the seawall to examine its durability…

The study didn’t conclude exactly which areas along the waterfront may be most vulnerable, but Reel noted there are possible “hot spots” near Piers 27, 29 and 31(more)

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