Real-Time Flood Forecasting and Monitoring System for Highway Overtopping in Iowa, TR-699

The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) has utilized the BridgeWatch program since 2006 to provide alerts when rainfall events or stream gages indicate the potential for significant flooding at scour critical bridges. The Iowa DOT would like to use this real-time warning program to provide alerts when a highway is about to overtop due to flooding. To this end the project proposed a project to interface the information of sonic-sensors developed by the Iowa Flood Center and the prediction of their hydrologic model with BridgeWatch and perform a study to determine the impact of merging these technologies in improving response to situation of road flooding, and flash flooding. In order to better predict the potential for flood waters to overtop a highway, the University of Iowa's hydrologic model CUENCAS will be used to provide flood forecasting at various sites where the highway infrastructure is most vulnerable to flooding. The Iowa Flood Center has created a hydrologic model for the entire state which can incorporate real-time rainfall events and forecast resultant peak flows along any basin in the state of Iowa. The hydrologic model can provide a predicted flood discharge that can be integrated with a stage/discharge relationship in the BridgeWatch program so that real-time warnings can be provided to maintenance staff before a highway overtops thereby enhancing public safety. In addition to the CUENCAS hydrologic model, the Flood Center has developed sensors that can provide real-time stage/discharge information at bridge sites. For smaller sized basins, these sensors can provide real-time warning of highway overtopping by integration into the BridgeWatch program. As part of the research, the project will involve interviewing maintenance staff to assess and documenting their current responses to significant rainfall/highway overtopping events. The research project will determine the time and costs associated with monitoring sites before they overtop and the issues associated with closing a road while floodwaters are overtopping the highway. Once the project has been implemented over several seasons, follow-up interviews will be performed to determine the accuracy of the warnings and if the system provided a better allocation of resources and an enhancement of public safety. The Iowa DOT would like to monitor 26 of the most vulnerable infrastructure sites that overtop due to flooding. The project will provide real-time warning by merging the University of Iowa's real-time hydrologic flood forecasting model (CUENCAS) and stage sensors with the assessment and alert notification capabilities of the BridgeWatch program. The proposed research will assess the predictability and potential cost savings of a system that will provide better information for maintenance staff to protect the traveling public during flood events.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $229425
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Iowa Department of Transportation

      800 Lincoln Way
      Ames, IA  United States  50010

      Iowa Highway Research Board

      Iowa Department of Transportation
      800 Lincoln Way
      Ames, IA  United States  50010
    • Project Managers:

      Goetz, Vanessa

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Iowa, Iowa City

      IIHR- Hydroscience & Engineering
      307 C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Lab
      Iowa City, Iowa  United States  52242

      University of Iowa

      Iowa Flood Center
      207 C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory
      Iowa City, Iowa  United States  52242
    • Principal Investigators:

      Mantilla, Ricardo

      Krajewski, Witold

    • Start Date: 20151015
    • Expected Completion Date: 20201030
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01580314
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Iowa Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: TR-699
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Nov 2 2015 10:20AM