The potential impacts of a changing climate – from higher temperatures and rising sea levels to changes in seasonal precipitation and the intensity of rain events – are affecting the lifecycle of our transportation infrastructure. These trends, including extreme weather events, are predicted to intensify, requiring the need to plan for the possibility of events and identify how these environmental impacts can affect our safety, mobility, economy, and built infrastructure, like roads and bridges.
For example, storm surges and flooding can obstruct access to roads that lead to our homes and businesses, necessitate more emergency evacuations, and require costly, and sometimes recurring, repairs to damaged infrastructure. Inland flooding from unusually heavy downpours can disrupt traffic, damage culverts, and reduce service life. High heat can also degrade the materials of our infrastructure, resulting in shorter replacement cycles and higher maintenance costs.
While transportation infrastructure is designed to handle a broad range of impacts based on historic climate, preparing for climate change and extreme weather events like flooding is critical to protecting the integrity and resiliency of the transportation system. Resiliency is defined as the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. Enhanced resilience allows better anticipation of disasters, better planning to reduce disaster losses, and faster recovery after an event.
Our Regional Flooding Assessment
Tri-County is conducting a study to assess where our existing transportation infrastructure is most vulnerable, including roads, bridges, culverts, and trails. We are currently in the first phases of the project and have developed a survey for the public and local engineering professionals to help us develop a regional database of frequently flooded locations within the transportation network in our communities.
Scan the QR code or visit this link to take the survey, which will close on June 30th!
This project will ultimately outline the framework for a new flood risk tool to guide local communities’ planning and investment decisions to keep our roadways and nonmotorized network safe, efficient, and resilient.