In today’s society, transportation has become a vital component of our economy, our national defense, our emergency response systems, and our day-to-day life. Disruption of major highway systems can have serious social, health, economic, security, and environmental consequences. Disruption of highway systems can result from natural or man-made causes, and it may be intentional or unintentional. Examples of the wide-ranging causes of highway disruption include weather, natural disasters, vehicle crashes, hazardous material spills, barge impacts with bridge piers, and acts of terrorism. Disruption of key transportation chokepoints, such as bridges or tunnels, could have disastrous impacts on Kentucky. With this in mind, it would seem prudent to begin to develop strategies to prevent such events or to mitigate their impacts if they should occur. It is no doubt impossible, and probably unnecessary, to protect every segment of the surface transportation system. However, it is possible to identify those most critical segments where a disruption would have dire effects. For those segments, it is reasonable to expect that, over time, protection strategies can be developed, alternative routes can be provided, and contingency plans can be put in place. The objective of this project is to analyze the major highway routes in and through Kentucky to determine the potential liabilities associated with disruption of these routes. The analysis assesses the availability of convenient by-pass routes and the anticipated impacts (mobility, economic, and others) of a disruption. The results of this study will allow transportation decision-makers to identify those route segments in the Commonwealth that would cause the greatest adverse impacts if they were interrupted. This will allow the Transportation Cabinet to develop and implement an intelligent strategy for preventing or mitigating such an interruption. Such a strategy could include surveillance and/or other security measures, reinforcement to minimize damage, and/or providing redundancy in available routes. Implementation of the recommendations developed under this study will substantially increase the survivability of Kentucky’s surface transportation system. Kentucky would then be much less vulnerable to a natural or man-made disruption to the flow of surface transportation system.

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Accuracy of the information presented herein is the responsibility of the authors and the Kentucky Transportation Center. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names and trade names is for identification purposes and is not to be considered an endorsement.