The M9.0 East Japan earthquake impacted a large area of Japan, but ground shaking severely damaged only a few bridges. The tsunami waves were high, but major bridge damage was due to girders that were picked up by the waves. Bridges that were well designed for ground shaking had little tsunami damage. However, moderate ground shaking damage closed bridges and impeded evacuation before the tsunami.
Scoured embankments and debris-covered roads impeded the emergency response, delayed timely repairs to the nuclear power plants, and slowed the economic recovery.
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