The terrible earthquakes in Christchurch NZ of late should make the SA Government think again about where and how they build their proposed new Royal Adelaide Hospital. The proposed site is right on a spur fault line that splits off laterally from the main north-south fault line running through the Adelaide CBD (incidentally over which they have built the Flinders Medical Centre). Suppose the next big quake demolishes or seriously damages the Flinders Medical Centre and a subsequent aftershock then does likewise to the new hospital. Where would they take all the injured?
Earthquakes have been known to bring down dams and change the course of streams and rivers. They can also turn the earth into a fluid that overwhelms whole towns. The proposed new hospital site is also on the River Torrens Flood Plain!
Seriously, think again. Wherever we build it, please design a building that resists earthquakes (foundation slip plates and the like) and consider enhancing all existing essential infrastructure to do so too by at least retrofitting structural changes to resist both lateral & vertical earth motion.
The Adelaide Plain is a bit like a jelly that is liable to amplify earthquake oscillations – so we need to hope for the best but plan for the worst.
The existing Royal Adelaide is at least on a hill back somewhat from the river, conveniently co-located with educational & research infrastructure, and not directly under an airport approach flightpath. It also has some excellent fairly new facilities, funded by local philanthropists – who undoubtedly will feel rather annoyed if the Government demolishes or sells off these facilities.
I challenge the SA Government to provide an assessment of the current vulnerability of all essential services infrastructure (current and planned) to earthquake, flood, and other foreseeable disasters like tsunami & plane crashes – and to table a plan to improve matters.