Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Options Study
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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Options Study

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      The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) recognized that the State’s transportation infrastructure is vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather and climate events. To better understand and respond to these impacts, ODOT conducted a regional vulnerability assessment and adaptation options study. This pilot study identifies vulnerable highway corridors and evaluates a range of site-specific adaptation strategies that address landslides, coastal erosion, and storm surge hazards. The study was prepared with funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Climate Change Resilience Pilot Program. FHWA’s Vulnerability Assessment Framework was used to help guide ODOT's evaluation of state highways. The pilot covers Tillamook and Clatsop counties on Oregon’s north coast, within ODOT’s Maintenance District 1. This area is served by ten State highway routes that run along coastal bluffs, rivers and estuaries, and across the Coast Range. Nearly 300 miles of State highways were assessed as part of the study. The project involved: - Analysis of projected climate changes and sea level rise. - Qualitative assessment of vulnerabilities and risks from climate impacts, - Baseline data collection and adaptation strategies developed for high-risk sites, - Benefit-cost analysis, and, - Review of regulatory constraints. ODOT conducted a workshop with maintenance and technical staff to collect climate risk information and identify priorities. Vulnerable hazard sites along north coast highways were identified using the best available climate science, existing conditions data, and known and anticipated hazards information. ODOT ranked highway corridors and critical connections (Seismic Lifeline Routes) for vulnerability to climate impacts. Adaptation options were developed at five locations identified as vulnerable “climate hazard sites” and selected for analysis within a 25-mile Study Corridor. A benefit-cost analysis was then prepared at two sites to enable comparison between the options and inform the overall assessment. ODOT also reviewed regulatory and land use constraints that have the potential to limit the feasibility of coastal adaptation projects.
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