Grant-funded study flags storm-vulnerable essential roads

flood resilient roadMarch 2020 – Two years ago, the Hillsborough MPO, in collaboration with the Pinellas MPO, Pasco MPO, Tampa Bay Regional Council, and the Florida Department of Transportation District 7, were selected for The Resilient Tampa Bay: Transportation (RTBT) Pilot Project as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Resilience and Durability to Extreme Weather Pilot Program. FHWA partnered with State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and others to assess, develop, and deploy resilience solutions to extreme weather events, reduce future maintenance costs over the lifecycle of transportation assets, and decrease the social and economic impact to the community.

Tampa Bay is the second most populous region in Florida and is rated by insurance companies as one of the most vulnerable cities in the U.S. As a hub for commerce, tourism, and the defense industry, the community depends heavily on the roadway network to work, live, and play. In the event of a category 3 storm and high sea level rise, nearly 20% of the network in Hillsborough County would be impacted. A small two-day disruption could mean a loss of $218 million to our gross regional product. Building in preventative measures to roadway flooding could keep commerce moving and reduce disruptions to people’s daily lives.

This program has identified 16 important road segments that are highly susceptible to flooding. Among them are portions of Channelside Drive (Nebraska Avenue to SR 618), College Avenue (US 41 to 21 St), and Westshore Boulevard (Prescott Street to Euclid Avenue). Flood mitigation measures along these and other state managed facilities can potentially be implemented when local governments or the state is doing maintenance or other work on these roads.

We are proud to be winners of this major grant from FHWA that made this project possible and appreciate the work that Allison Yeh, MPO Executive Planner and Sustainability Coordinator, has done on the project.

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