Investigating the Efficacy of Natural and Nature-based Features to Increase the Service Life of Coastal Roadways

Seven of the top ten costliest U.S. natural disasters are coastal events, with hurricanes alone causing $23.5 billion in damage annually to infrastructure. Moreover, rising sea levels will amplify transportation infrastructure vulnerability to coastal storms, nuisance flooding, and wave actions, especially towards pavement infrastructure which are critical based on the mileage of the intermodal transportation network that connects communities, waterways, ports, and rail. To protect pavement infrastructure from flooding, the state-of-practice involves hard (grey) structures, raising roadway elevations, reinforcing infrastructure, and relocating roadways further inland. In the last decade, federal agencies such as NOAA, FHWA, and USACE have led an initiative to explore the design and integration of natural and nature-based features (NNBFs) in increasing the resilience of transportation infrastructure while providing ecosystem benefits. Natural features are existing ecosystems that include coastal marshes and wetlands, dune and beach systems, oyster and coral reefs, forests, coastal rivers and floodplains, and barrier islands that provide multiple benefits to communities, such as storm protection through wave attenuation or flood storage capacity and enhanced water services and security. In recent years, the FHWA also began exploring NNBFs as innovative green infrastructure to protect coastal highways, starting with an implementation guide and pilot studies. Before NNBFs can be effectively transferred into practice in Louisiana, there is an important need to establish the level of flood protection and economic metrics to compare NNBFs and grey infrastructure; and to assess the long-term efficacy of NNBFs to protect transportation infrastructure under a range of flooding scenarios. The overarching objective of this research project is to establish the level of flood protection and economic metrics to compare natural and nature-based features (NNBFs) and grey infrastructure; and to assess the long-term efficacy of NNBFs to protect transportation infrastructure under a range of flooding scenarios. The objectives of this research project is to (1) evaluate the damage to transportation infrastructure after Hurricane Ida, (2) evaluate the efficacy of grey infrastructure and NNBFs to provide hurricane surge and wave protection, and (3) quantify the potential economic benefits of NNBFs to its resiliency towards extreme events. Hurricane Ida case studies near Port Fourchon and Grand Isle will be used as case studies to evaluate the performance of roadway and bridge infrastructure, along with NNBFs (beach and dunes, wetlands, and mangroves). The findings of this research will result in a better understanding of natural and nature-based features for protecting of coastal transportation infrastructure systems for the states in the South Central area and all other States as they are all prone to the adverse effects of natural disasters. A final report will detail information on the methodology used for this research and data acquisition of pertinent information for NNB natural disasters such as the condition of flood control structures, power lines, street level conditions of roads, rising water levels, number of damaged homes and waste debris piles, among many other.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • 22GTLSU25

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $120000
  • Contract Numbers:

    69A3551747106

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Mousa, Momen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

    P.O. Box 94245, Capitol Station
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Principal Investigators:

    Jafari, Navid

  • Start Date: 20220401
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01844766
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: May 6 2022 9:03AM