Climate change is a growing concern for understanding current and future vulnerabilities, as well as for plans and actions designed to increase sustainability and the resilience of urban and exurban areas around the world. As historic weather patterns change and cities expand, we must understand how climate change may affect one geographic area and its infrastructure. Climate modeling helps do just that, anticipating how changes in the atmosphere will impact an area over time, taking into account changes in precipitation and temperature.
The Ray has engaged Resilient Analytics to analyze the vulnerability of Highway I-85 and associated feeder roads in Troup County, Georgia to projected climate changes from 2015-2070. We’re sweating the details—looking at a combination of previous research on materials science, case studies and historical data.
The results are in, and the short story is that The Ray is projected to incur cumulative costs at the 50th percentile of $5.56 million and $18.12 million over historic levels at 2040 and 2070, respectively. At the 95th percentile, this increase grows to $23.22 million and $48.15 million respectively. Both of these scenarios show heavy impacts from increases in temperature starting in the decade of 2030.
Simply put, our roads aren’t sustainable given their current infrastructure. And we can assume that this doesn’t just affect our roads, but roadways everywhere.
Our vulnerability assessment, combined with recommended adaptations, will serve as a basis for the team to make recommendations about everything from how to adapt maintenance and right-of-way to what kinds of materials make sense given the realities of climate change. While our analysis was limited to the 18-mile stretch of I-85 known as The Ray, we believe that the data, and our response to it, will apply to areas throughout the Southeast.
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