09:45 AM - 11:15 AM
26 October 2022

Improving the Resilience of Roadways

Natural & Man-Made Disasters


Michelle Madzelan, P.E., F.ASCE - Senior Transportation Manager, ELA Group, Inc.

Improving the Resilience of Asphalt Pavements


Benjamin F. Bowers, P.E. - Assistant Professor & Graduate Coordinator, Auburn University Department of Civil Engineering

Resilience is a growing concern in the transportation infrastructure community. Recent federal guidance encourages states to include resilience in their transportation asset management plans as many communities are experiencing a higher frequency of severe weather events and other changes to climatic conditions that can affect pavements. Roads and highways play an essential role in a community's ability to deliver necessary services after a natural disaster. Pavements also need to be adaptable to changing environmental conditions, such as increased frequent flooding from sea levels rising and weather patterns changing.

This session uses examples from recent storms, floods, and earthquakes to help engineers, owners and agencies better prepare for post‐natural disaster needs and how to create a more resilient transportation network. While network challenges will be discussed, the asphalt pavement assets, accounting for approximately 96% of the pavement network in the United States, will be the central focus.

Roadway Maintenance Workforces’ Critical Role in Resilience


Dave Bergner, M.A. (Management); PWLF, CPWP - Principal, Monte Vista Associates, LLC

Severe weather-related disasters such as floods, derechos, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards, heat waves, etc., cause massive damage, destruction and disruption to communities. as well as fatalities and injuries. So do geologic-related events such as earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and even volcanic eruptions.

The Maintenance Operations workforces of state and local transportation agencies have a vital role in response and recovery by clearing and repairing roads, bridges and tunnels for access by emergency responders to affected areas and for the evacuation of citizens to safety and refuge. Maintenance Operations are also responsible for the collection and transfer of household debris from the roadsides to disposal sites. These activities represent the largest percentage of federal disaster relief funds.

Just as important is incorporating mitigation measures into routine work to prevent or minimize damage to the roadways from likely incidents. For example, maintaining pavements in good repair; cleaning and regrading roadside drainage systems; reinforcing streamway revetments; replacing old culverts and elevating the roadbed above; and installing or enlarging rockfall prevention systems.

Training and equipping the roadway maintenance workforces, who are considered emergency responders, is essential for building and sustaining community resilience.

Long-term, agencies need to plan, design, install and implement improvements to help mitigate the effects of future events.

This paper and presentation will examine the roles and responsibilities of transportation agencies in critical roadway infrastructure protection.