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iENGINEERING

Transportation TV

Recovery Road : Rebuilding After Katrina

(Encore Presentation of Recovery Road, produced in 2010 to mark the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina)

Hurricane Katrina’s 10th Anniversary Looms as DOTs Brace for Storm Season
The last week of August in 2005 was the time of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most powerful and deadly storms in U.S. history. State departments of transportation have been citing its 10th anniversary this year as they prepare for the annual hurricane season.

While most of the more than 1,800 Americans it killed were lost when its surge engulfed New Orleans and other nearby areas, Katrina inflicted substantial damage to infrastructure across the entire Gulf Coast plus into the U.S. interior when its remnants moved northward.

Besides Katrina in the Gulf, states along the Eastern Seaboard are still making infrastructure repairs and launching resiliency projects following Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Among efforts to prepare for the next big storm:

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said in a June newsletter article that "although the start of the 2015 hurricane season began June 1, preparations for emergency response operations have been taking place all year long."

That has included a multi-agency response drill in April, a May evacuation exercise in New Orleans using commercial aircraft, and a combined annual Mississippi/Louisiana "contraflow meeting" in June discuss effective operation plans in case evacuations require flowing highway traffic opposite its normal lane flow.

Mississippi's DOT has been conducting a series of "Hurricane Blitz" events around the state where MDOT officials hand out the 2015 Hurricane Evacuation Guide, which gives updated information on lodging, animal shelters, radio coverage, and a detailed map of alternate routes and contact information for road conditions.

They also provide residents with information on contraflow, and developing a hurricane disaster kit to have at their ready.

State agencies in other seaside regions are also preparing. For instance, the New Jersey DOT participated on July 23 with other state agencies in what Commissioner Jamie Fox said was a drill "to practice a worst case scenario in which the New Jersey Shore would need to be evacuated in a short period of time because of a hurricane or other natural disaster."