The February 28, 2001, Nisqually, Washington, earthquake (Mw = 6.8) damaged an area of the northwestern United States that previously experienced two major historical earthquakes, in 1949 and in 1965. Preliminary estimates of direct monetary losses from damage due to earthquake-induced landslides is approximately $34.3 million. However, this figure does not include costs from damages to the elevated portion of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a major highway through downtown Seattle, Washington that will be repaired or rebuilt, depending on the future decision of local and state authorities. There is much debate as to the cause of the damage to this viaduct with evaluations of cause ranging from earthquake shaking and liquefaction to lateral spreading to a combination of these effects. If the viaduct is included in the costs, the losses increase to $500+ million (if it is repaired) or to more than $1+ billion (if it is replaced). Preliminary estimate of losses due to all causes of earthquake damage is approximately $2 billion, which includes temporary repairs to the Alaskan Way Viaduct. These preliminary dollar figures will no doubt increase when plans and decisions regarding the Viaduct are completed.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
An Account of Preliminary Landslide Damage and Losses Resulting from the February 28, 2001, Nisqually, Washington, Earthquake