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Posted on: September 4, 2019

PLANNING AND MODELING UNDERWAY FOR ROAD ELEVATION PROJECTS IN VULNERABLE AREAS

A street in Key Largo is underwater due to king tide events in the Florida Keys

With seasonal king tides each fall and wind and storm surge impacts exacerbated by Hurricane Dorian, Monroe County is well underway with its Roads Adaptation Plan conducting the necessary planning and modeling for future road elevation and adaptation projects.

 Using the sea level rise predictions from the Southeast Florida Climate Change Compact, the County is analyzing more than 300 miles of County-maintained roadways for vulnerabilities of future flooding. The plan will determine the level of road elevation or adaptations needed in certain areas of the County.  It will also include information for affected communities about the future levels of flooding and options for how to fund needed adaptation projects.

Monroe County began collecting and modeling initial sea-level rise data in 2013 and completed its mobile LiDAR survey project in June. The data provides accurate elevation data for roadways and first floors of County buildings to help with sea-level rise adaptation decisions. The County recently began its roadway analysis to identify roads subject to inundation risk, including nuisance and future sea-level rise flooding. The elevation data from the mobile LiDAR work is being used in the engineering analysis phase of this project.

“Monroe County recognizes that flooding in low-lying areas of the Florida Keys will continue to occur,” said Rhonda Haag, Monroe County Director of Sustainability. “The County's roads elevation plan currently underway will help address this problem in the short and long-term, making the County more resilient to storms and sea-level rise.”

The modeling and engineering analysis is anticipated to take several more months. Once completed, the County will host community meetings to discuss the initial results with residents.  With the feedback on the strategies and priorities, the County will make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners.

The County is also nearing completion of the engineering of two pilot road elevation projects in Key Largo and Big Pine Key. The projects are designed to address flooding and future sea-level rise impacts. The design and permitting should be completed in February 2020 with construction underway in May 2020. Once completed, residents living on elevated sections of roadways should experience fewer flooding impacts from storms, less nuisance flooding per year, and reduced levels of inundation on the roads.

For more information regarding the project, contact Haag at 305-453-8774 or haag-rhonda@monroecounty-fl.gov.

Photo: A pilot project to address road elevations is under design for the Twin Lakes subdivision in Key Largo.

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