On October 27th Liftech’s Yoshi Oritatsu and Halcrow’s Marc Percher gave a presentation at the ASCE Golden Gate Chapter Dinner meeting about their findings from their earthquake and tsunami reconnaissance trip to Japan. Representing the COPRI Ports and Harbor Structures team, Mr. Oritatsu and Mr. Percher discussed the damage observed at various port facilities, the impact on operations and recovery efforts, the response of port authorities, and the lessons learned from this disastrous event.
During their trip, Mr. Oritatsu and Mr. Percher observed various levels of damage to various types of structures. Gravity concrete structures, such as sea walls and tsunami breakwater structures, experienced severe damage, as did light structures, such as pipes and tanks. Many of these structures have a large surface area-to-weight ratio, and suffered from the pressure of the tsunami. In contrast, heavy equipment with small surface areas, such as gantry cranes, typically had no apparent structural damage. Some crane structures were knocked over by vessels during the tsunami. Despite the large magnitude of the earthquake and tsunami, most wharf structures performed well.
Photos courtesy of ASCE