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Engineers work to improve bridge safety during quakes

Narrator:    This is Science Today. A team of engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have designed new technology that could improve bridge safety during devastating earthquakes. Steve Mahin, director of Berkeley's Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, says their model bridge was built in segments like many of the major bridges in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mahin:    Each of those segments are like people in a line. Each person is moving sideways and out of phase. So, what we're doing here is trying to get everybody in line. And so that the white line down the road will be continuous and we're doing that by just gently guiding the bridge from one segment to the next.

Narrator:     Using an earthquake simulator, they tested three, isolator-type devices designed to keep the segments moving together and prevent the bridge from shaking apart during a quake.

Mahin:    The tests exceed our expectations. We look forward to doing some actual analysis of the bridge so that we're confident in our findings and we can come up with some good recommendations for future bridge design.

Narrator:    For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.