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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-014
Date: September 2002
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) now has a Security Department. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is developing awareness training for employees to recognize and respond to potential terrorist attacks. And bridge inspectors in Maryland now regularly monitor high priority structures for any unusual objects, suspicious activities, or other irregularities. For these and other State highway agencies across the country, the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent threats to the Nation's bridge and tunnel infrastructure were a wake-up call that has produced lasting changes in the way they do business.
For bridge and highway infrastructure engineers, protecting bridges and other structures used to mean guarding against such natural processes as fatigue and scour and events such as earthquakes. September 11 changed all that. Since last fall, engineers have faced the new challenge of how to protect structures from potential terrorist attack. “Bridge and highway engineers are being asked the urgent questions of how vulnerable these structures are and what can be done to reduce this vulnerability,” says Steve Ernst of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). To equip engineers to answer these new and complex questions, FHWA is developing a Bridge and Tunnel Vulnerability Workshop and has launched other structural security initiatives.
Formed in 2000 with the goal of improving training opportunities for transportation workers, the Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TCCC) is marking its second anniversary with such undertakings as the launching of a new State pooled-fund effort to support training development. The Council is also looking ahead to what still needs to be done to meet training needs for construction teams, highway agencies, and industry. “A good start has been made but now it's a matter of keeping the momentum going and moving forward,” says Jim Sorenson of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
How well can the Nation's highway infrastructure support a national defense mobilization? One of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) strategic goals is to “Improve the Nation's National Defense Mobility,” which includes the objective of improving “the capacity and operations of the Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET) and STRAHNET connectors to support defense mobility.” The STRAHNET routes are designed to readily accommodate the movement of military supplies and personnel in times of national emergency. To test STRAHNET readiness, a U.S. Department of Transportation Intermodal Planning Advisory Group (IPAG), led by FHWA, analyzed the Southeast region's transportation infrastructure preparedness.
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