Designing Climate Resilient Infrastructure: Cape Cod's Low-Lying Roads
Climate change is a key challenge facing the natural, built, and community systems of Cape Cod. Cape Cod is vulnerable to climate-related hazards, such as sea level rise, storm surge and flooding, among others. The Cape Cod Climate Action Plan calls for broad action to both mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and increase resiliency to the threats faced today, and that we know will increase in the future. Low-lying roads and transportation infrastructure are some of the most vulnerable assets in the region. The Cape Cod Commission, in collaboration with the Woods Hole Group, is working with ten Cape Cod towns to conduct a vulnerability assessment of roadway segments, bridges, and culverts due to flooding from the combined effects of sea level rise and storm surge. Employing the state-of-the-art Massachusetts Coast Flood Risk Model (MC FRM), the project leads to identification of vulnerable road segments under different sea level rise scenarios and time scales. Roadway criticality and risk is assessed and, through collaboration and public input in part via an ArcGIS online web application and public comment tool, roadway segments are prioritized for further feasibility analysis and conceptual design. The project results in three conceptual design solutions per prioritized roadway and positions communities to pursue funds for final design and implementation of projects that will increase the region’s resilience to climate change.