Resilient Infrastructure

Today's infrastructure must incorporate resiliency into its design and construction to prepare for and mitigate future disasters.

A dramatic increase in the frequency and severity of catastrophes — from windstorms to hurricanes to wildfires — is having a profound impact on communities’ stability and sustainability.

These events can drive the need to rewrite the book on design and construction of infrastructure, and to build with adaptation and resiliency in mind. Building resilient infrastructure keeps the focus on rebuilding for the next event — not just from the last one.

Based on extensive post-disaster experience and using a unique analytical process, HNTB has established standards of resiliency and created tools, approaches and best practices to design and deliver resilient infrastructure.

Investing in resiliency
Although much of the nation’s infrastructure is lapsing further into disrepair and Federal funding continues to decline, smart resiliency investments can reduce long-term costs.

Participating agencies are avoiding greater total life-cycle costs in favor of comparatively less expensive project costs. In fact, they are looking beyond reactive disaster-recovery plans to adopt proactive, prioritized plans that include creative solutions.

Resiliency investments like these provide economic and social benefits:

• Reduced insurance premiums for businesses and individuals
• Lower energy costs
• Transit networks that facilitate movement and enhance community cohesiveness

Embedding crucial organization resiliency
Building resiliency goes beyond physical infrastructure. It also involves embedding resiliency inside organizations — ensuring that they have systems and processes in place that allow them to adapt, adjust, evolve and respond to change and emerging challenges.

HNTB experts recommend that agencies:

• Begin with the end in mind.
• Don’t just react to circumstances. Reaction is temporary; careful, planned response is more permanent.
• Make sure needed resources can be identified and made available quickly by fully analyzing and evaluating disasters’ potential effects.

John Basilica, Jr., leads HNTB’s resilient infrastructure services practice, and has significant experience in large-scale disaster assessment, recovery and preparedness. He served as program manager for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s $180 million program for repairs to federal-aid-eligible roadways after Hurricane Katrina, and as project manager for Superstorm Sandy Disaster Assistance/Road Repair for the New York City Department of Transportation. Additionally, he served as principal-in-charge on an extension-of-staff services contract for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Agency to overhaul New Orleans’ flood protection system.

Selected HNTB thought leadership

• Resilient construction can protect lives and assets
• Assessing risk differently means building with protective design in mind

Selected media

• Newsday: Amtrak: Sandy tunnel repairs may begin in 2025, cost $1B
• ENR Texas & Louisiana: Recovery, Resilience Are Focus in Harvey’s Wake
• The Advocate: Firm chosen to create stormwater master plan, to determine key drainage projects for Baton Rouge
• ENR Texas and Louisiana: Design Firm of the Year: HNTB Corp.

Photo: Texas Disaster Recovery Program