This report investigates the use and effectiveness of temporary flood barriers (TFBs) to mitigate the impacts of flood waters on Kentucky’s roadways. TFBs are structures, usually filled with sand, which are constructed along the edges of roadways and thus serve as a buffer against rising waters. In doing so, they can protect the structural soundness of roads, and ensure that roads remain open to traffic during flood events. The report is divided into four main sections. The first chapter introduces the concept of TFBs and notes situations in which they have been effectively deployed. The second chapter surveys the different kinds of TFBs currently available on the market and advances recommendations regarding which types are the most efficient and cost effective options for Kentucky. After this, the report investigates 8 potential sites at which TFBs may be deployed, in Kentucky’s Highway Districts 1 and 2. Two sites are recommended for further testing and potential implementation, and two alternative sites are suggested in case the preferred sites prove unworkable. The fourth chapter briefly explores the legal issues related to TFB usage. Because of the potential liability issues involved, to avoid legal action being taken against state employees in the case of TFBs failing and causing damage to adjacent property, the report recommends subcontracting the installation and maintenance of TFBs out to private entities. A final chapter summarizes all of the conclusions and recommendations of this report, and suggests that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet move forward by a) inviting manufacturers to demonstrate their products onsite; and b) developing, in consultation with emergency managers and other officials at the local level, a comprehensive flood mitigation strategy that incorporates TFBs.

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Report Number

KTC-12-14/SPR 448-11-1F

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© 2012 University of Kentucky, Kentucky Transportation Center

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