In the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster, access to the affected areas will be by highway, rail, air and water. Failure of roadways and bridges, railroad lines and bridges, airport runways and air traffic control systems, and waterway ports could severely hamper both the response and recovery process.
The Missouri Department of Highways and Transportation has compiled a "Risk Report of Structures" in which some 633 bridges have been identified for retrofitting. A retrofitting schedule has been developed based on whether the structure is along a main transportation route or a service road within an area. To date, 16 bridges have been retrofitted. The estimated cost of retrofitting the remaining bridges is about $70 million. Two bridges of major concern are the Poplar Street Bridge in the City of St. Louis and the Caruthersville Bridge. Both bridges serve as a critical link to the areas they serve.
Several major railroad lines traverse through Missouri. Although rail lines within the areas of major damage would in all likelihood be severely damaged and inoperable, the rail system could be used to transport large quantities of emergency goods to staging areas. In addition, goods being carried on trains that have been derailed or stopped due to damaged tracks could be utilized. However, Federal Law prohibits seizure of railroad goods and services by State government, even in the event of a declared state emergency. Only the President of the United States or the Department of Defense has the right of seizure. Historically, however, the rail industry has voluntarily offered its services in the event of a natural disaster.
The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are other sources of transportation for the State. Barges are used to transport goods and materials. The leading ports are St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Caruthersville, New Madrid and Hannibal. If any of these ports are deemed operable following an earthquake, they would be useful in transporting emergency goods into affected areas.
There are 354 airports and 80 heliports in the State of Missouri. Fifteen airports are in the St. Louis area. Air transportation would be a quick and efficient way to import emergency personnel and some materials into a disaster region, provided that the airports and control towers survive. The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has recommended that a study be done on airports and control towers to determine seismic vulnerability. From this information retrofits could be made to improve reliability after an earthquake event.
Identify key emergency routes into areas of potential significant damage in the event of an earthquake and review current bridge retrofitting schedule.
Continue and increase funding, if possible, for the retrofitting of key roadways and bridges.
Review and test the current post-earthquake damage assessment plan for highways and bridges.
Identify rail lines which could be utilized to transport goods and personnel.
Conduct a vulnerability study of these rail lines and develop a staging plan.
Initiate discussions with railroad owners regarding utilization of both rail lines and goods after an earthquake. Formal agreements should be entered into if feasible.
Identify key ports and determine if retrofitting can be done to improve survival.
Coordinate a plan with the Corp of Engineers, Port Authority, Missouri State Water Patrol, and the Coast Guard to determine port availability and accessibility following an earthquake.
Discuss with barge transportation companies the use of their services to transport emergency goods.
Conduct a study of the seismic vulnerability of airports and heliports in Missouri.
Identify the airports that would be most useful and implement