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Impact of Flooding and Inundation on the Performance of Concrete Pavements

Description:

FHWA Technical Brief on Climate Change and Pavement Sustainability (FHWA-HIF-15-015) provides an introduction on how pavements may be fortified against climate change impacts due to higher temperatures, longer heat waves and flooding, and discusses how these changes will accelerate the deterioration of highway pavements. However, it recognizes that the state of the practice is largely limited to general observations and is lacking with regards to specific adaptation strategies.

Research looking at the performance of pavements in Louisiana that were submerged after Hurricane Katrina showed that pavements that were submerged in water were found to be weaker than non-submerged pavements ([1]), but the variance in strength appeared to be different as related to the pavement type. For example, it was found that the overall equivalent strength loss for submerged asphalt pavements was similar to the structural contribution of two inches of new asphalt concrete; that damage occurred regardless of the length of time the pavement was submerged; and estimated cost of rehabilitating the 200 miles of submerged asphalt roads would be ~$50 million. For concrete pavements, the difference in strength between submerged and unsubmerged pavements was relatively low and it was implied that none of the concrete pavements needed repairs (although a specific statement to this effect was not given). Similar anecdotal evidence has been observed in Houston (following a flooding event in May 2015) and Mexico (La Paz and Los Cabos, Baja California Sur after Hurricane Odile), where the concrete pavements were flooded, but opened to traffic immediately after clearing with no repairs and no apparent adverse effects.

In addition to flooding from storms, another major concerns with climate change is “sea level rise.” During the 20th century, the sea level rose about 15-20 centimeters (roughly 1.5 to 2.0 mm/year), with the rate at the end of the century greater than over the early part of the century and projections suggest that the rate of sea level rise is likely to increase during the 21st century.( [2]) As an example of how much sea level rise may occur, the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact is projecting that the SE Florida region will see a sea level rise of between 9 and 24 inches in the next 50 years. To help mitigate some of the impacts, the region has already implemented mitigation / adaption projects of $400 M to construct 2 pump stations to in part to keep the roads from flooding. ([3], [4])

Research is needed to determine the impact that inundation has on concrete pavements in order to determine its potential resiliency capabilities as a mitigation strategy for flooding. Resiliency is the absorptive capacity, adaptive capacity, and recoverability of a product to withstand a disruptive event, including the ability to serve its primary functions following an event.

Objective:

The objective of this research is to determine the impact that submergence and inundation (related to flooding and sea-level rise) may have on a concrete pavement system and to assess any modifications that could improve a concrete pavements resiliency in regards to flooding or climate change.

Phase 1

Task 1. Conduct a literature review of the performance of concrete pavements with respect to inundation and submergence. Summarize the information collected noting pertinent results as appropriate. Identify any gaps in the information. Document the results in a technical memorandum.

Task 2. Develop a detailed research plan to address the knowledge gaps identified in Task 1. It is anticipated this plan would include building laboratory and full-scale, concrete pavement test sections that can be inundated so that the differences in the short term responses (e.g. stress, stain and deflection, etc.) and accelerated load testing performances(faulting, cracking, deflection, material properties etc.) between flooded and non-flooded test sections could be evaluated. Another portion of the research could entail doing pavement testing on pavements inundated by flooding from actual events from storms in order to compare the field results with the laboratory and full scale test results.

Task 3. Prepare an interim report that documents the research performed in Phase I. Include an updated work plan for Phase II

Task 4. Execute the work plan approved in Task 3. Based on the results of this work, recommend a methodology for quantifying the impacts of flooding on concrete pavements. Identify concrete pavement properties that may influence performance and identify test methods and protocols (e.g., FWD, GPR or other tests/instrumentation) that can be used to evaluate and/or quantify the near-term load capacity and the long-term pavement damage /performance reduction caused by inundation.

Task 5. Document results and propose guidelines, standard practices, training sessions and other activities that can be given to practicing engineers for limiting flood damage to new and existing concrete pavements.

Task 6. Perform technology transfer / training concerning the project findings, guidelines and tools in a one-day pilot workshop to FHWA and DOT participants. Revise project training materials and deliverables, as necessary, based on comments received following this workshop.

Task 7. Submit final versions of all project training materials and deliverables, along with a final report that documents the entire research effort.

Benefits:

Project deliverables will include a study report documenting the pavement properties that have the most significant influence on short- and long-term behavior and performance of flooded pavement systems, as well identifying identify existing test methods and appropriate protocols for evaluating or assessing the potential for performance reductions caused by inundation and whether or not specific projects are good candidates for mitigation using concrete pavement construction options.

Related Research:

Below is a partial list of research on flooding and inundation on pavements. While there has been a fair amount of study on this topic, the vast majority relates to asphalt pavements only.

·

FHWA Flooded Pavement Assessment Methods (FHWA-PROJ-13-0015)* *Research currently under contract with University of New Hampshire, Worcester Polytech Inst, Villanova Univ, and Infrasense

The objective of this project is to develop guidelines (e.g. a decision tree) for short-term assessment of flooded pavements in order to provide decision makers the ability to assess flooded pavements using a rational methodology and testing procedures, based on available resources and risk assessment, to determine when a road can be opened. The guidelines will address the assessment of flooded pavements based on performance properties and an understanding of the reduced structural capacity of roadway systems after a flood event. Note that while this research is not pavement type specific, the vast majority of the effort is being spent on the assessment of hot-mix asphalt pavements.

· *Guidelines for Limiting Damage to Flexible and Composite Pavements Due to the Presence of Water (NCHRP 01-54) *Research currently under contract with Applied Pavement Technology, Inc.

This research is developing guidelines that identify best practices for limiting damage to pavements from water intrusion when constructing, maintaining or rehabilitating flexible or composite pavement systems. It does not address the impacts of inundation, nor does it deal with concrete pavements.

· FHWA Technical Brief on Climate Change and Pavement Sustainability (FHWA-HIF-15-015) , August 2015

This technical brief, as talked about above, only provides an introduction on how pavements may be fortified against climate change impacts. One of the recommendations from this TechBrief regarding flooding was that agencies need to develop: 1) a better understanding of how submergence affects pavement structural capacity and 2) strategies to address the reduction in structural capacity.

· *Surface Transportation System Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events, First International Conference, *Transportation Research Circular Number E-C204, February 2016

This publication summarizes the information presented at the First International Conference on Surface Transportation System Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events, held September 16–18, 2015 in Washington DC. In total, there were 27 different breakout sessions during the conference that covered virtually every aspect of climate change and its impacts on transportation systems. However, when it dealt with roadways and pavements, the discussions primarily dealt with: 1) assessing the damage (mainly to asphalt pavements, as described in the first research bullet); 2) how to assess the vulnerability of given pavement to a climate change event; and 3) how to fortify the system using techniques such as raising the road, stabilizing slopes, etc. In the one presentation on developing resilient pavement systems, the discussion outlined how the increased precipitation and extreme temperatures will likely impact pavement designs in the future (similar to the tech FHWA tech brief in the 2nd bullet). The presentation ended by recognizing that adapting and fortifying roadways / pavements to make them more resilient to the changing climate will require changing specifications and using better materials that can resist freeze–thaws, submersion and extreme temperatures.

·

*MAP-21 / FAST Act Transportation Legislation and FHWA Proposed Rule for Asset Management: *

US Code 23 U.S.C. 119(e)(1) requires states to develop risk-based assessment plan for the National Highway System to improve or preserve the condition of the assets and the performance of the system. In the proposed Rulemakings to fulfill this requirement, it has been proposed that existing roads, highways and bridges that have required repair and reconstruction activities on two or more occasions due to emergency events be evaluated to determine if there are reasonable alternatives to mitigate future repairs.

· *Western Iowa Missouri River Flooding— Geo-Infrastructure Damage Assessment, Repair, and Mitigation Strategies; *Center for Earthworks Engineering Research, Iowa State University, Report No. IHRB Project TR-638

The 2011 Missouri River flooding in western Iowa resulted in closures of 100 miles of interstates, interchanges, secondary roads in western Iowa, causing significant damage to the infrastructure systems. While the research was to assess the damage to the several forms infrastructure systems and develop effective repair and mitigation strategies and solutions for use during future flood events in Iowa, only one asphalt and once concrete road segments were evaluated. _. _

·

Studies from other countries on the impact of flood on roadways:

*Estimating Pavement’s Flood Resilience; *Misbah U. Khan, Mahmoud Mesbah, Luis Ferreira, David J. Williams, School of Civil Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072 Australia

This study used data from a 34,000 km road database of the Transport and Main Roads Authority, Queensland (TMR-QLD) which has 10-12 years of performance records including after-flood roughness and rutting data to analysis 27 representative road groups for the network considering three types of pavement (flexible, rigid and composite), three types of loading (low, moderate and high) and three types of pavement strength (poor, fair and strong). Considering pavement type, the authors found that a rigid pavements perform better than composite and flexible road groups incorporating flooding and highlighted that sentiment by stating that “… it is settled that a rigid pavement is more flood resilient.”

Tasks:

Phase 1

Task 1. Conduct a literature review of the performance of concrete pavements with respect to inundation and submergence. Summarize the information collected noting pertinent results as appropriate. Identify any gaps in the information. Document the results in a technical memorandum.

Task 2. Develop a detailed research plan to address the knowledge gaps identified in Task 1. It is anticipated this plan would include building laboratory and full-scale, concrete pavement test sections that can be inundated so that the differences in the short term responses (e.g. stress, stain and deflection, etc.) and accelerated load testing performances(faulting, cracking, deflection, material properties etc.) between flooded and non-flooded test sections could be evaluated. Another portion of the research could entail doing pavement testing on pavements inundated by flooding from actual events from storms in order to compare the field results with the laboratory and full scale test results.

Task 3. Prepare an interim report that documents the research performed in Phase I. Include an updated work plan for Phase II

Task 4. Execute the work plan approved in Task 3. Based on the results of this work, recommend a methodology for quantifying the impacts of flooding on concrete pavements. Identify concrete pavement properties that may influence performance and identify test methods and protocols (e.g., FWD, GPR or other tests/instrumentation) that can be used to evaluate and/or quantify the near-term load capacity and the long-term pavement damage /performance reduction caused by inundation.

Task 5. Document results and propose guidelines, standard practices, training sessions and other activities that can be given to practicing engineers for limiting flood damage to new and existing concrete pavements.

Task 6. Perform technology transfer / training concerning the project findings, guidelines and tools in a one-day pilot workshop to FHWA and DOT participants. Revise project training materials and deliverables, as necessary, based on comments received following this workshop.

Task 7. Submit final versions of all project training materials and deliverables, along with a final report that documents the entire research effort.

Implementation:

It is anticipated that implementing the results of this study would be relatively simple. Most states already have concrete pavement design guidelines, construction specifications, material specifications, etc. The primary challenge will be disseminating the results of the work to the various state departments of transportation and other agencies. To this end, the proposed project should also result in the development of appropriate training and implementation materials, which will be refined through the presentation of a pilot workshop to FHWA. The refined materials can then be used for implementation nationwide under a separate effort.

AFD00(1) Sustainable Pavement Subcommittee also is a co-sponsor of this RNS (But the system would not pull up the subcommittee so it could not be added below with AFH50).

Relevance:

Weather and flooding events already influence pavement systems. Many states – such as Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Vermont, Tennessee, Iowa, Texas and Missouri – have experienced severe precipitation events and flooding during the past several years. Fortification of our pavement systems is critically needed in areas of potential flooding but, as of yet, no dedicated research has looked specifically at the performance of concrete pavements. While concrete pavements are often not considered due to the belief that they are too expensive; recent results of Alternate Design / Alternate Bid procurement process has shown that concrete pavements are often within initial cost parity (+/- 10%) of equivalent asphalt pavement designs.

Assuming concrete pavements do respond to flooding events as found in the research of pavements submerged after Hurricane Katrina, the savings accrued by avoiding the need for complete reconstruction could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars (e.g., the money spent on pavement repairs / reconstruction due to Hurricane Katrina flooding in Louisiana alone totaled over $50 M, much of which might have been saved with appropriate mitigation/fortification strategies, including the use of concrete pavements and overlays). Given the relatively small (and sometimes nonexistent) incremental cost of constructing concrete pavements and overlays and the potential for large reductions in repair or reconstruction costs for submerged pavements, incremental B/C ratios could be 10 or higher. It should be possible to more accurately determine a range of typical B/C ratios based on the results of this study along with cost data from the Katrina report and other studies.

Sponsoring Committee:AKP20, Design and Rehabilitation of Concrete Pavements
Research Period:12 - 24 months
RNS Developer:James W. Mack, P.E., Director Market Development / Commercial Strategy, CEMEX On behalf of TRB Committee AFD50 – Rigid Pavement Design
Source Info:"Gaspard, K., M. Martinez, Z. Zhang, and Z. Wu. 2006. Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Roadways in the New Orleans Area. Technical Assistance Report No. 07-2TA. Louisiana Transportation Research Center, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Baton Rouge, LA"
Oceans & Sea Level Rise: Consequences of Climate Change on the Oceans, Climate Institute, 1400 16th St. NW, Suite 430, Washington, DC 20036 http://www.climate.org/topics/sea-level/, accessed March 3, 2016.
“Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Challenges and Action in Southeast Florida” by Mark R. Woerner, International Concrete Sustainability Conference, Miami, Florida, May 12, 2015 (http://www.nrmcaevents.org/?nav=display&file=780)
“Climate Change & Water Management in South Florida”, http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/climate_change_and_water_management_in_sflorida_12nov2009.pdfWillway T., Baldachi, L., Reeves, S., Harding M., McHale, M. and Nunn, M. 2008. The effects of climate change on highway pavements and how to minimise them. Report for the Department for Transportation, UK.
Sultana, M., Chai, G. Martin, T. and Chowdhury, S., 2014. A Review of the Structual Performance of flooded pavements, 26th ARRB Conference-Research driving efficiency, Sydney, Australia.
Date Posted:01/02/2017
Date Modified:03/18/2017
Index Terms:Concrete pavements, Pavement performance, Climate change, Hurricanes, Floods, State of the practice,
Cosponsoring Committees:AKC50, Concrete Pavement Construction and Rehabilitation
 
Subjects    
Pavements
Planning and Forecasting
Hydraulics and Hydrology
Environment

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