Highway to Resilience – WSDOT Climate Adaptation

Year: 2022
Presenter/s: Simon Page
Symposium Session: 2022 - 04 Stream Restoration from the (WSDOT) Transportation Perspective
Topics covered: climate change, fish passage, fish-salmon, hydraulics, risk and resilience, and stream


Recognizing the vulnerability of our transportation system and the value of the system to the community it serves, WSDOT has adopted polices and developed guidance to improve the resiliency of the transportation system considering anticipated climate change.
This presentation will provide an overarching discussion of WSDOT’s role in FHWA pilot projects to develop and improve FHWA’s Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Framework. These work efforts resulted in a Statewide Climate Vulnerability Assessment, more detailed analysis of vulnerabilities and adaptations on a county level and then a project-based evaluation that included both sea level rise and changes in precipitation.

The presentation will introduce two projects that have incorporated resiliency in both transportation and restoration project aspects: The I5/SR 167 Gateway Project along Hylebos Creek near Tacoma and the Granite Creek Bridge Replacement Project on SR 542 on Mount Baker. The projects have very different concerns. In Tacoma, sea level rise will likely affect the I5 corridor in the Puyallup River delta and the local communities and industries that support the Port of Tacoma. On Mount Baker there are changes in the precipitation relationships be rain or snow as well as changes in snow accumulation and snowmelt rates that affect runoff.

Finally, the presentation will summarize WSDOTs current practices to ensure that the fish passage projects in development will remain safe to the communities served and passable to fish throughout their design life.