Managing the highway in extreme weather conditions

How can we, as engineers, most effectively manage the impact of adverse weather conditions on our highway networks? 

Effective clearance of strategic road networks
Effective clearance of strategic road networks

This briefing report presents an overview of research and guidance from industry to assist Civil Engineers in making informed decisions on the design of new infrastructure, and help them to influence decisions on maintenance regimes and budgeting.

Background

In recent years, the UK has witnessed an increase in the impact and intensity of rain storms, which have resulted in an increased incidence of flooding both in terms of local flash floods and widespread longer term events.

The lack of predictability of these events has compounded their effect. In addition the UK has more recently experienced a vast increase in periods of severe winter weather, such as unusually heavy snowfall, which resulted in widespread disruption to Britain’s transport network; identified areas of improvement required in the supply chain, and; had a significant impact upon commerce and general life throughout the nation.

The UK generally experiences a temperate climate; however, we are now experiencing periods of extreme heat and drought, intense rainfall and extreme cold in the winter, more often. The unpredictability of such occurrences make planning and preparation complex, particularly decisions regarding the deployment of resources.

Purpose of this report

The aim of this report is to present research and guidance from industry to assist Civil Engineers in making informed decisions on the design of new infrastructure, and help them to influence decisions on maintenance regimes and budgeting. This report is present in sections on:

  • Ability to predict events
  • Ability to respond to events
  • Highway design and maintenance
  • Traffic management & network recovery
  • Salt reserves and treatment strategies
  • Public communications, expectations, participation and responsibility

ICE is committed to keeping its members abreast of information on our strategic infrastructure networks, and this is a critical area for our members to perform during periods of uncertainty, and when our infrastructure networks experience increased stress.

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