Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Impacts on a Coastal Bridge: I-10 Bayway, Mobile Bay, Alabama

This is one of nine engineering case studies conducted under the Transportation Engineering Approaches to Climate Resiliency (TEACR) Project. This case study focused on the vulnerability of a coastal bridge to sea level rise and storm surge. This assessment investigates potential structural and hydraulic engineering adaptations to increase the resilience of a coastal bridge to extreme events in rising sea levels. The assessment focuses on the I-10 Bridge, which crosses northern Mobile Bay, Alabama (known locally as “The Bayway”). The seven-mile long bridge crosses open bay waters, coastal marshes, and tidal rivers. The assessment found that the existing I-10 Bridge is vulnerable and would be destroyed by waves on storm surge under a scenario in which a storm like Hurricane Katrina directly hits Mobile in the future with 75 cm of sea level rise. Loss of the bridge could directly cost primary users $1,130,800 per day. Retrofit adaptations which strengthen the connections between the superstructure (the decks) and substructure could be designed to avoid the primary, historical damage mechanism (separation of the decks from substructure). However, such adaptations alone will likely end in the destruction of the bridge due to other failure mechanisms (deck-girder damage due to negative bending and pile damage) slightly later in the storm. The only adaptation which will protect the bridge is increasing its elevation - perhaps in combination with some of the other structural modification adaptations considered.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 52p
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01663166
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-HEP-17-014
  • Created Date: Feb 9 2018 7:55AM