Engineers canvass earthquake zone for bridge damage

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CUSHING, Okla. - Joe Echelle is an ODOT Engineer and father of two.

Living just north of Cushing, the family got a real jolt at 7:44 p.m Sunday.

"They curled up like two little rabbits, scared of the earthquakes. We are probably more worried about earthquakes than tornadoes," Echelle said.

Within 15 minutes, Echelle and an army of ODOT engineers were dispatched to the earthquake zone.

The size of an earthquake determines the radius of bridge inspections.

This 5.0 warranted inspections within 15 miles, every direction from the epicenter.

"ODOT purchased us some really nice flashlights and an earthquake response kit. We can label a bridge so, when someone else shows up, we know it's already been inspected," Echelle said.

Despite the damage to downtown Cushing, officials said bridges are built to withstand this kind of vibration.

"If you've ever had a flat and stood on the side of the highway, you can feel the vibration. In excess of 5.4 is what the bridges are designed for," said ODOT Spokesperson Terri Angier.

Engineers inspected 110 state highway bridges and found no damage from Sunday's shaker.

"Everything we inspected last night was fine and safe for travel," Echelle said.

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