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Highways in the Coastal Environment: Assessing Extreme Events
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Highways in the Coastal Environment: Assessing Extreme Events
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    This manual provides technical guidance and methods for assessing the vulnerability of coastal transportation facilities to extreme events and climate change. This is a standalone supplement, a "Volume 2," to the existing, primary FHWA Hydraulic Engineering Circular (HEC) manual: "Highways in the Coastal Environment," HEC-25 (2nd ed., FHWA 2008). The focus of this supplement is quantifying exposure to sea level rise, storm surge, and waves considering climate change. lt is anticipated that there will be multiple uses for this guidance including risk and vulnerability assessments, planning activities, and design procedure development. The critical coastal processes controlling the vulnerability of transportation assets to extreme events are identified by region along with some available methods for modeling them and the likely impacts of climate change. Global sea level rise, including projections of future sea levels, is emphasized because of its importance. Tools for developing vulnerability assessments for coastal transportation infrastructure are described within the framework of engineering risk. Storm damage mechanisms, often exacerbated by sea level rise and climate change, are described. Adaptation approaches for coastal transportation infrastructure are also described. Many of the adaptations required for climate change and sea level rise are the same adaptations required for improving infrastructure resilience to extreme events with today's sea levels. Specific approaches for assessing exposure of coastal infrastructure to extreme events and climate change are presented in three different "levels of effort" ranging from use of available data to original numerical modeling. The inclusion of trained coastal scientists and engineers in the analysis team is suggested at all levels of effort. Three case studies from the existing literature on coastal vulnerability assessments to extreme events and climate change are described. Our coastal transportation infrastructure is highly exposed to extreme events today and that exposure is likely to increase with sea level rise and climate change.

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