Keeping Roads and Utilities Out of Damage-Prone Areas
There are several obvious reasons to avoid siting roads and utilities in hazard-prone areas:
- Roads and utilities are absolutely critical during evacuation, disaster response, and recovery. If they’re flooded or damaged, they can become yet another liability, rather than an asset.
- Placing public infrastructure in areas where it may be damaged makes it extremely likely that your community will end up repairing it—an added strain to municipal staff, budgets, and available services.
- Putting public infrastructure (e.g., water and sewer) in a hazard-prone area increases the likelihood that the area will be developed, or that existing development will be expanded, thereby putting more structures and people at risk.
Use hazard maps when evaluating where to place new roads (considering the limitations of FIRMs). When possible, keep the roads out of areas that are known to flood or are otherwise hazardous. Technical assistance is available from the DCR Flood Hazard Mitigation Program and CZM to assist in identifying options to address these issues.