Further to the previous post about a recent article in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Civil Engineering Magazine and Civil Engineering Source entitled “Key Northern California Highway to Be Protected from Sea Level Rise,” emergency measures employed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) included tractor-based pumps to relieve roadway flooding from flood events. Further, the Caltrans regional project manager for SR 37 confirms that maintenance teams are ready to use tractor-based pumps again, if required.

In 2019, critical levee failures and subsequent flood events near the highway lead to the closure of California State Route 37 for eight days. Caltrans explains that SR 37 depends on a “complex and interconnected system of private and public levees.” With sea-level rise (SLR) projections for the San Francisco area by California’s Ocean Protection Council (OPC), flood events related to storm surges are also predicted to intensity. A 25-year coastal storm event, as measured by today’s standards, floods numerous sections across the SR 37 route.

Of greatest concern, Caltrans warns that by 2050, projected sea-level rise will cause the middle and western segments of SR 37 to be permanently underwater. And by 2100, the eastern section of SR 37, which lies at a higher elevation, will also be submerged. As a result, Caltrans and its local partners initiated the SR 37 Flood Reduction Project – near-term adaptation actions to address the highest risk areas of SR 37 on the 7.5 mile segment between US 101 and SR 121. Solutions include replacing bridges to higher elevations and raising roadway profiles with viaducts, embankments, and flood-walls.

(Source: Landers, Jay. “Key Northern California Highway to Be Protected from Sea Level Rise.” Civil Engineering Magazine, American Society of Civil Engineers, https://www.asce.org/publications-and-news/civil-engineering-source/civil-engineering-magazine/article/2022/03/key-northern-california-highway-to-be-protected-from-sea-level-rise.)

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