When hurricanes Harvey and Irma each made landfall, they viciously tore through residential properties, business districts, farmlands, wildlife areas and more without remorse. Now, as people are coming back after the storms, they are seeing firsthand the actual measure of destruction. It’s time to think about rebuilding, but where to start? And what can be done to ensure less destruction to infrastructure in the future? For instance, the unprecedented amount of rain that fell on Houston during Harvey may have brought to light the possibility that the area’s engineering and floodplain design is outdated.
City officials in these storm-ravaged areas need to consider rebuilding with important upgrades in mind, both for future safety and to reduce the costs associated with rebuilding. For Texas and Florida, as well as other states, the key to preventing massive storm destruction is to make infrastructure more resilient with help from local governments, land planners and developers, civil engineers and the community.
Here’s a look into how civil engineering companies in Idaho are approaching rebuilding and redesigning infrastructure after hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The importance of maintenance
A lot of United States infrastructure is in need of updates and upgrades to live up to safety and integrity standards. While new infrastructure is often needed, the problem is that little money is going back into improving current infrastructure—the long-term maintenance of existing infrastructure isn’t taken sufficiently seriously. Furthermore, many new builds are mirroring old designs and standards, and taking similar risks in the process.
Institutions need to focus on redesign, too
Sure, it’s easy to blame infrastructure issues on design, but it is not just technical design that’s to blame—it’s institutional failures as well. Consider the numerous other aspects that go into a design. Parameters are set by institutions that are influenced by politics and based around budget.
Keep climate change in mind
Whether a new design or a redesign after a storm, infrastructure’s ability to hold strong in extreme natural events and handle climate change must be taken into account. Can it stand up to severe elements like heat, droughts, flooding and wind?
Build flexible infrastructure
Designing infrastructure with flexibility in mind is key to successful redesigns in all sorts of conditions. An example is in the case of hurricanes, where creating smart roadway signaling to adjust stoplights and reverse lanes can help vehicles leave quickly in the event of an evacuation.
When it comes to building new or rebuilding infrastructure, an all-encompassing approach needs to be taken. Will it hold strong in a severe storm? Can tall buildings and high bridges handle powerful winds? Are the levees built with updated construction to maintain structural integrity under extreme volumes of water?
If you have been impacted by a heavy storm, know that civil engineering companies in Idaho are available to assist you after damage has been done to your property. Rebuilding efforts will include planning, designing and construction, all of which will require the expertise of a civil engineer. The team at Mason & Associates is here to help you with your build project, whether residential, commercial or public. Don’t hesitate to contact us anytime.