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Failures of civil infrastructure arise from challenging soil conditions, extreme weather, environmental changes, seismic triggering, and large hydraulic loading events. Other factors for failures include aging of infrastructure and poor characterization of infrastructure systems. Currently, losses from infrastructure distressed by earthquakes, hurricanes, expansive soil movements, and other hazard events can run billions of dollars annually

In some cases, human lives are lost due to the failure of the infrastructure. One example is the levee system's failure due to large Katrina flooding in New Orleans and recent Sandy hurricane destruction in the Northeastern states. Human life losses are also experienced from infrastructure damage caused by earthquakes and other hazard events. Most failures caused by natural hazard and problem soil conditions are attributed to poor design and construction practices, as well as the material types and their characterizations currently followed in the practice.

The mission of the Organized Research Center of Excellence (ORCE) on Sustainable and Resilient Civil Infrastructure is to explore and develop research solutions for better design and construction of sustainable and resilient civil infrastructure in complex, natural, and man-made hazard environments.

Better design models and methods are formulated from comprehensive understanding of hazard environment utilizing advanced geological and engineering research tools, as well as physical modeling and testing of full scale instrumented infrastructures in a simulated or natural hazard environment.

The civil infrastructure focused by this center includes transportation infrastructure, comprising of highways and airfield runways, high speed and transit rail infrastructure, embankments, retaining walls, dams, levees and others.

Institutes & Organized Research Centers of Excellence