Lessons Learned from Irene: Vermont RPCs Address Transportation System Recovery

Posted on: June 29th, 2012 by Kate Humphrey

Cover of the report Lessons Learned from Irene, with images showing local roads with damage caused by floodingOne week after moving into the Caribbean and then striking the U.S. east coast as a category 1 hurricane, Irene arrived in Vermont on August 27, 2011. The storm caused widespread damage in 223 of the state’s 251 towns and villages. Severe flooding was particularly devastating for transportation infrastructure, requiring the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) to take a leading role in the recovery. The extent of the damage, however, proved too much for a single agency to manage alone. VTrans’ leadership sought help from the state’s 11 regional planning commissions (RPCs) to assume responsibility for assessing needed local road repairs.

While the RPCs were well positioned to assist because of their established relationships and networks within the towns, their recovery activities often went beyond their typical scope of work. The collaboration between VTrans and the RPCs offers lessons for disaster preparedness and recovery, both crucial elements for building more resilient communities.

This publication was developed with support from the Federal Highway Administration through the NADO Research Foundation’s Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Development.

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