Highway authorities are facing the challenge of the rapid growth of highway transportation resulting in increasingly complex problems, mainly when severe emergency events cause damage to road assets.
Highway authorities include the state departments of transportation, administrators, and engineers.
To understand and solve these problems requires cooperative research from coordinated programs. Thus, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program.
The NCHRP Project 20-05, “Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Problems,” searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. The reports from this endeavor constitute an NCHRP report series, Synthesis of Highway Practice.
Federal regulations, specifically 23 CFR § 667 require state departments of transportation (DOTs) to conduct statewide reviews to identify roads, highways, and bridges that have been damaged two or more times since 1997 by events declared emergencies by the president of the United States or by a state’s governor.
This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems.
The content of NCHRP Synthesis 556 are described briefly below:
Chapter 1 contains the introduction of the report. It discusses current legislation and subsequent asset management rules that require state DOTs to conduct statewide evaluations of roads, highways, and bridges, the objectives of the synthesis, its scope approach, and terminology.
Chapter 2 shows the review of the literature, statutes, regulations, and documented practices of the states such as the U.S. DOT Emergency Relief for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Public Transportation Systems, and others.
Chapter 3 – State of the Practice. Discusses the survey that was conducted to document the practices and processes used by state transportation agencies to identify and evaluate damaged locations by emergency events. The survey questionnaire was distributed to the asset management lead contacts in all 50 state DOT’s, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, as identified by FHWA.
Chapter 4 presents case examples that illustrate some State DOT’s have addressed federal requirements specifically, the 23 CFR § 667, and how they are moving forward to improve their data, tools, and business practices for evaluating damages associated with ER events.
Case examples from the report:
- California DOT: Integration of Multiple Assessments into a Statewide Highway Strategic Management Plan
- The Oregon DOT: Incorporating Assessment of Sites Damaged by Multiple Events into Managing Unstable Slopes
- The New York State DOT: Integrating Data to Support Investment Decisions
Chapter 5 – This chapter discusses the Conclusion about different agency approaches and Opportunities for Future Research.
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