ST. LOUIS – Large earthquakes have shaken the St. Louis region in the past and could do so again. Mizzou’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department was selected by MoDOT to study just that.

“The project is looking at planning and response to an earthquake affecting the St. Louis region,” said Dr. Praveen Edara, professor and chair of the department.

The Bi-State region sits amid both the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones. Edara and his team will look at how roads and bridges might be impacted by a major quake.

“The objective of the model is to forecast what the delays will look like on different routes. What the congestion will look like. Where the potential bottlenecks will be, so MoDOT can plan ahead,” Edara said.

A survey recently shared on social media asks people where they would go and how they would get there if forced from their homes. It also asks how they would want to be informed about the aftermath. People on both sides of the Mississippi River are invited to take the survey.

“How frequently do they like to receive communication about a natural disaster, be it route conditions or services, emergency services, availability of public shelters, and so forth,” Edara said.

The goal is to build simulation models to evaluate various road and bridge closing scenarios.

“By doing the survey, you’ll be helping MoDOT and other emergency management agencies better plan and better respond,” Edara said.

A similar research survey was conducted in an eight-county region near the city of New Madrid.

“Some of those survey responses in the southeast part of the state drove the questions in the St. Louis survey that we just deployed,” Edara said.

Edara said they had 900 responses in southeast Missouri in the first two weeks. He said he would love to see an even bigger response in and around St. Louis.