Oakland, California was selected for the site of Seventh National Seismic Conference on Bridges & Highways (7NSC). The subject workshop and conference were held May 18-22, 2013 at the Oakland Marriott City Center. The conference theme is “Bridge Resilience for Earthquakes and Other Natural Hazards,” indicating a broad scope. There were presentations and discussions of multiple hazards that may affect the performance of highway infrastructure. California was chosen by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to host this conference based on the state’s past experience with earthquakes and the Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) leadership in the field.
Co-organizers of the conference are USDOT Federal Highway Administration, Transportation Research Board, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures (AASHTO), and earthquake research centers PEER-UC Berkeley, and MCEER-University at Buffalo.
The 2013 conference builds upon previous successful meetings that have been held in San Diego, Sacramento, Portland, Memphis, San Mateo, and Charleston, SC. More than 300 participants attended the workshop and conference, including representatives from private engineering practice, government, construction, academia, and industry. This conference was a premier gathering of transportation officials responsible for addressing and mitigating the impact of all hazards on our highway infrastructure.
On Sunday May 19, 2013, an optional pre-conference technical workshop was held. The main program was held over the next 2½ days with over 75 oral and poster presentations, discussion panels, and a student design competition. Several internationally renowned keynote speakers were being invited to share information about some of the major earthquakes that have occurred in other parts of the world in recent years. In addition, a special session was planned that highlighted the design and construction of the soon to be complete San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, with emphasis on the unique self-anchored suspension span. An optional technical tour was also provided.
In the days prior to the 7NSC, FHWA held the First International Bridge Seismic Workshop, also in Oakland. Dr. W. Phillip Yen, FHWA Principal Bridge Engineer – Structural Dynamics is Chairman of the 7NSC and the International Workshop. After the first international bridge seismic workshop, an International Association of Bridge Earthquake Engineering was established, and Dr. W. Phillip Yen was elected as the chairman of this new organization to promote the future activities and international cooperation.