The future climate change risks for expressways

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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The future climate change risks for expressways

Climate Change is widely associated with increased natural hazards, which pose new and extraordinary challenges for developing and maintaining climate-resilient infrastructure. While road infrastructure plays a crucial role in disaster response, it also remains most susceptible to climate change and natural hazards. Road infrastructure components such as pavement, bridges, culverts, crossing, etc., are usually constructed for long design life (~50 years) and are costly; hence they need to be assessed regularly.

This study critically analyses the future climate change risks for Mumbai– Agra expressway, National Highway 46 (NH-46), based on CMIP5 projections and simulations from a hydrological model.

Natural hazards risk for precipitation and temperature extremes, floods, heatwaves, and landslides have been evaluated along the highway and at key infrastructure locations such as bridges, culverts, and intersections of major cities. Results show an increase in extreme precipitation in the future at some locations while a substantial decrease at other highway locations. The mean and maximum temperature is expected to change in +1.2°C and -1.2°C for future projections along the highway. Heatwave frequency indicates a slight increase in all three projections. The flood risk and frequencies of extreme floods are projected to increase from near to far-future.

Climate change will affect transportation systems. Thus, adaptation actions in the transportation system are needed, including new infrastructure designs for future climate conditions, asset management programs, at-risk asset protection, operational changes, and abandoning/relocating infrastructure assets that would be too expensive to protect.

As new and rehabilitated transportation systems are developed, climate change impacts should be routinely incorporated into the planning for these systems. Finally, the study considers the need to include current and future climate change into infrastructure planning, design construction, and maintenance.

(The study was conducted by IIT-Gandhinagar and GIZ under the Indo-German bilateral cooperation project on “Supporting the Institutionalisation of Capacities on Climate Change Studies and Actions (ICCC)” commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and being implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)).

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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