Highways in the Coastal Environment: Assessing Extreme Events   [open pdf - 6MB]

"The US transportation system is vulnerable to coastal extreme event storms today and this vulnerability will increase with climate change. Hurricane Sandy caused over $10 billion in damage to coastal roads, rails, tunnels, and other transportation facilities in New York and New Jersey (Blake et al. 2013, NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] 2013). Hurricanes Ivan (2004), Katrina (2005), Ike (2008), and other storms have also caused billions in damage to coastal roads and bridges throughout the Gulf Coast. Portions of California State Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, have been relocated away from the ocean in response to bluff erosion threatening the highway. Costs of lost business when critical transportation services are interrupted after coastal storms have also been significant. This vulnerability will increase as sea levels rise. Many projections of future sea levels suggest accelerated rise rates resulting from global climate change. Higher sea levels will combine with future extreme events to increase the vulnerability of coastal highways, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure. Thus, damage from coastal hazards such as hurricanes, high waves, tsunamis, and extreme tides will increase in cost, frequency, and magnitude. It is estimated that over 60,000 roadway miles in the US are exposed to coastal storm surge (FHWA [Federal Highway Administration] 2008). The degree to which that exposure, and resulting vulnerability, will increase as a result of climate change is currently unknown."

Report Number:
Publication No. FHWA-NHI-14-006; Federal Highway Administration-National Highway Institute-14-006
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federal Highway Administration: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/
Media Type:
Hydraulic Engineering Circular Volume 2, No. 25
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