Road Infrastructure

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Climate adaptation for road infrastructure in coastal New Hampshire

Jo Sias Daniel, Professor of Civil Engineering, UNH (603.862.3277); Jennifer Jacobs, Professor of Civil Engineering, UNH (603.862.0635); and Paul Kirshen, Research Professor of Civil Engineering, UNH

This project will further the mission of resilient seacoast communities by coupling nonstationary climate change and sea level rise information with pavement design and performance methods to inform vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning. The region's physical infrastructure is at increasing and critical risk from climate-driven stressors due to both ambient and periodic extremes in precipitation and temperature, as well as from sea level rise resulting in increased inundation and rising groundwater tables. Anticipated changes could change the frequency, duration and severity of road failures as well as the time and cost of reconstructing the pavement systems. Climate change and sea level rise pose challenges that have been broadly recognized by the road engineering community. However, due to significant knowledge and data barriers, relatively few infrastructure researchers or municipalities incorporate climate change impacts on roads into their work.

Daniel and her colleagues will conduct pavement assessments and evaluate different adaptation strategies to develop the data and tools needed to assess climate impacts on roadways, and will create and engage a N.H. Seacoast Transportation Climate Working Group to make the results readily useable by local municipal and state road agents and regional planners.