DRRA Evacuation Route

Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) – Section 1209: Strengthening Evacuation Routes for Hurricane and Extreme Weather

Hurricanes and extreme weather events are commonplace, but is our evacuation route roadways and infrastructure up to withstanding these events?

As our communities and population grow, the importance of having safe and efficient evacuation routes in these events is ever more critical. 1209 underlines the significance of resilient-based designs for evacuation routes and how we need to enhance them.

Understanding Evacuation Routes: Ensuring Safety During Emergencies:

During emergencies like hurricanes and floods, evacuation routes are crucial for ensuring safe passage for residents. These routes consist of various road types, carefully selected and planned to efficiently evacuate people from high-risk areas. While certain events may occur without prior notice or planning, efforts must be made to account for unforeseen circumstances and strengthen evacuation routes accordingly. This section emphasizes the significance of well-designed evacuation routes and the need for their resilience to withstand various emergencies.


Flooding & Storm Surge

Critical Elements of a Ready Evacuation Route: Resilience & Durability for Rapid Recovery:


Resilience-based designs play a significant role in developing ready evacuation routes. Although opinions may vary among engineers, common themes emerge. Resilience goals focus on maintaining the functionality of roadways and culvert crossings during extreme flood events and facilitating swift recovery from disruptive events. This section highlights the importance of designing evacuation routes with resilience in mind, allowing for quick recovery and minimizing the impact of emergencies. Reinforced concrete pipe and other concrete products offer great solutions to meet those needs.

The Role of DRRA – Section 1209: Guidance:


The Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) Section 1209 holds great importance in enhancing evacuation routes. 1209 explores the mandate of coordination between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the development of evacuation route guidance. The DRRA directed the revision or issuance of new guidance for designing, constructing, maintaining, and repairing evacuation routes. While a specific timeline was not set, this legislation emphasizes the need for improved guidance to ensure the safety and effectiveness of evacuation routes.

The Federal Highway Administration’s, Section 1209 highlights the need for strong, durable and resilient evacuation routes and identifies several performance standards;

  • The ability to “withstand likely risks to viability, including flammability and hydrostatic forces” and
  • Improved durability and strength, including the ability to withstand tensile stresses and compressive stresses

Lessons Learned, Enhancing Evacuation Routes:


Hurricane Katrina stands as a powerful reminder of the critical importance of robust infrastructure when it comes to hurricanes. The devastating impact of the storm in 2005 exposed the vulnerabilities in evacuation routes and the urgent need for their improvement. Inadequate infrastructure, including insufficient roads, bridges, and drainage systems, significantly hindered evacuation efforts, resulting in tragic consequences. This catastrophic event spurred nationwide efforts to enhance evacuation routes and invest in resilient infrastructure. Initiatives like the DRRA – Section 1209 aim to strengthen evacuation route guidance, ensuring they are designed, constructed, maintained, and repaired with the necessary resilience to withstand future hurricanes and emergencies. By prioritizing resilient infrastructure by using reinforced concrete pipe, for example, we can better prepare for hurricanes and safeguard our communities for future weather events.

 When it comes to improving the durability and reliability of our sanitary and stormwater infrastructure, we need to review the importance of the material selected that is best suited to resist flotation in the event of flooding and extreme weather situations. 

In this example, a standard 48″ pipe of RCP only needs 4″ of cover compared to alternative materials that require deeper soil depths to resist flotation, requiring additional labor and costs.

National Standards and Guidance: Creating a Resilient Framework:


In response to the DRRA, the American Concrete Pipe Association is currently collaborating with organizations like ASTM to develop national standards and guidelines. These standards will provide valuable insights into designing evacuation routes capable of withstanding hurricanes, floods, wildfires, hazardous materials releases, and even terrorist threats. DRRA – Section 1209 explains the importance of adhering to these guidelines, as they enhance the resilience of evacuation routes and contribute to the safety of communities during times of crisis.

Prioritizing Evacuation Route Readiness:


As hurricane season approaches, prioritizing the readiness of evacuation routes is crucial. Resilient-based designs that focus on maintaining functionality during extreme events and promoting swift recovery are essential for safeguarding communities. The implementation of DRRA Americas – Section 1209 underscores the significance of enhancing evacuation route guidance nationwide. Rinker Materials remains dedicated to providing top-notch reinforced concrete products and supporting initiatives that strengthen evacuation routes, ensuring the safety and well-being of residents during times of crisis. Be prepared, have a clear evacuation plan, and rely on resilient infrastructure to stay safe during imminent disasters.

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