Bridge Damage and Repair Costs from Hurricane Katrina


Hurricane Katrina caused significant damage to the transportation system in the Gulf Coast region. The overall cost to repair or replace the bridges damaged during the hurricane is estimated at over $1 billion. This paper describes the observed damage patterns to bridges, including damage attributed to storm surge, wind, impact from debris, scour, and water inundation, as well as examples of repair measures used to quickly restore functionality to the bridges and transportation system. Using the data from the 44 bridges that were damaged, relationships between storm surge elevation, damage level, and repair costs are developed. The analysis reveals that, in general, regions with higher storm surge had more damage, although there were several instances where this was not the case, primarily due to damage resulting from debris impact. It is also shown that a highly nonlinear relationship exists between the normalized repair cost and the damage state. The paper concludes with a brief discussion on the efficacy of using typical seismic design details for mitigating the effects of hurricane loads, and potential design considerations for bridge structures in vulnerable coastal regions.