Now viewing articles in the category Flood Management.

  • Is the record snowfall for 2015 a fluke? Or is it something we'll see more of in the future?

    March 9th, 2015 by Eileen Pannetier


    Guest Bloggers: Matthew Lundsted, P.E., CFM and Scott Salvucci, P.E.

    There are some actions you can take to reduce future flooding assuming we will continue to have heavy snow events as well as hurricanes and heavy rainfall periods in the future. One of the most critical assets in most communities are the culverts that protect our roadways from flooding. Undersized, deteriorated, or unstable culverts and bridges that have exceeded their designed lifetime are a hazard to more than just the roadway, but most communities have so many of them that it's difficult to fix them all. Prioritization is the key, and that starts with an up-to-date inventory that also highlights areas that will need extra attention after major snow or rainfall events.

    In a typical community, culverts may outnumber bridges by 4 to 1, but their failure can result in road washouts, flooding, significant property damage, and burdensome demands on municipal public works departments' staff during post-storm recovery efforts.

    Having a thorough understanding of the existing condition, capacity, and safety of your community's many culverts is key to ensuring your roadways are resilient to snow and storm events. Even better is a proactive plan to address known deficiencies and help form the foundation for a quick recovery following an extreme snow or storm event. Waiting until culverts fail is not a cost-effective approach since the damage may be much more expensive to repair, especially on an emergency or rush basis.

    A proactive culvert inventory and assessment could include the following:

    1. Develop or expand your GIS based infrastructure asset management program to include bridges and culverted stream crossings in the data array. CEI's engineers have developed a streamlined method for a GIS-based culvert and bridge infrastructure inventory and assessment for communities, to include identifying the appropriate data-fields and a supporting field program to establish an effective culvert condition baseline in your asset management database.
    2. Many communities have little, if any, updated information on culvert conditions. A simple, yet effective, in-the-field rapid assessment of the conditions of existing stream culverts including assessment of such conditions as settlement, cracking, corrosion, and spalling of the culvert material is needed. CEI has an efficient culvert evaluation protocol that can help. Completion of this protocol is the first step in compiling a list of structures with known structural deficiencies, and will greatly assist you with establishing priorities for repairs and replacements.
    3. If you have already identified culverts requiring replacement, we can also offer extensive experience in the design and permitting of these structures, including the necessary hydraulic analyses, stream assessments, applicable state and federal sizing and permitting requirements, and bidding and construction phases. Many communities have been helped by our staff of professional engineers and scientists and we’ll gladly provide a list of references.
    4. For culverts that appear undersized based on field assessment or that are known to have hydraulic capacity problems, we help you plan the most cost-effective and appropriate measures to upgrade these structures. Our experience with state-of-the-art hydraulic modeling tools and our knowledge of culvert hydraulics can be applied to help you set priorities for increasing culvert resilience to major snow and other storm events.
    5. If you are considering replacement of specific culvert structures, you will need to address current regulations at both the state and federal levels that address culvert installation practices in light of wildlife habitat and fish passage considerations. CEI staff are recognized as leading experts in the design of culverts for wildlife accommodation. We have direct working knowledge in the application of these regulations to culvert design and replacement, and can assist you through the regulatory requirements that apply to work on rivers and streams.
    6. Lastly, CEI can provide help in prioritizing the areas that will need the most work in a logical sequence using our Comprehensive Asset Planning (CAP) tool that allows adaptation to the factors most important to your community. For example, we can assist in prioritizing for snow cleanup, culvert maintenance and staff training, as well as developing flexible budgeting to address these priorities. CEI is ready to assist you with your inventory, structural assessment, prioritization, and culvert maintenance and upgrade program.

    For more information about CEI’s Flood Management and Culvert Assessment/Engineering services please contact Matt Lundsted, P.E., CFM at 800.725.2550 x305 mlundsted@ceiengineers.com or Scott Salvucci, P.E., at 508-281-5160 x380 or ssalvucci@ceiengineers.com.

    Visit us at www.ceiengineers.com

     

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