Creating a Resilient Transportation Network in Skagit County: Using Flood Studies to Inform Transportation Asset Management
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Creating a Resilient Transportation Network in Skagit County: Using Flood Studies to Inform Transportation Asset Management

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      This report presents the results of a Climate Resilience Pilot Project conducted by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and sponsored in part by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). WSDOT received a grant from FHWA to develop options for improving the resiliency of transportation facilities or systems to climate changes and/or extreme weather events. The pilot project set out to meet FHWA’s goal of helping further the state of the practice in applying vulnerability assessment results into decision making. This study builds on WSDOT's earlier pilot by examining adaptation options in an area of the state we previously identified as highly vulnerable: the Skagit River Basin (Basin). WSDOT chose this Basin because it is the focus of a major flood study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). WSDOT knew important decisions about how and where to invest in levees and other flood risk reduction projects were being actively evaluated by the Corps and the local sponsor, Skagit County. WSDOT also knew that state transportation assets were likely to be affected but were not the focus of their study. WSDOT’s pilot presented the opportunity to actively engage with the flood study and search for compatible long-term solutions that create a more resilient transportation system throughout the Basin. WSDOT’s pilot shows transportation planners and asset managers how to leverage a federal flood study, like the Corps’ Skagit River Flood Risk Management General Investigation Study (GI study), to improve the resiliency of our highways. The pilot demonstrates how WSDOT’s Vulnerability Assessment results, used in combination with federal flood study data, can reaffirm known vulnerabilities and reveal other vulnerable assets. The pilot identifies adaptation strategies for the Basin and highlights future partnership opportunities with the Corps and local governments. This report includes a series of recommendations and lessons learned that will help other DOTs and regional transportation planning entities reach across jurisdictions and sectors to create integrated asset management strategies.
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