This paper focuses on the damage assessment of transportation infrastructure during the recent cyclones and associated floods in Odisha, and advances some recommendations for possible measures to be taken for the design of cyclone- and flood-resilient road infrastructure. Cyclones and the associated floods have recently become a regular problem for many states of India, particularly on its west and east coasts. Odisha (formerly Orissa) is a state located along the eastern coast of India that experiences tropical cyclones mainly from the Bay of Bengal. The roads, being one of the essential lifeline infrastructure facilities, commonly get damaged during these cyclonic floods in terms of floodwater overtopping, erosion of road surfaces, shoulders and embankment slopes, and even the washing out of the whole roadway section. These recent events have indicated that special attention is needed to minimise damage to this vital lifeline infrastructure by developing and adopting climate-resilient road infrastructure.
This paper finds that flood-protection measures cannot be generically prescribed. The adaptation of a particular method or combination of different road construction methods is quite site-specific. Adequate field investigation, flood water hydraulics calculation, soil study and so on should be carried out by competent technical experts; likewise, suitable protection measures may also have to be chosen. The protection measures so chosen should be technically sound, locally feasible, economically viable and environment-friendly. Protection measures may include flexible pavement, embankment protection, or floodways or causeways. Investment in climate-resilient roads removes the need to spend more money on the frequent maintenance and reconstruction of damaged roads. It helps in the better distribution of supplies and relief materials during and after natural disasters and quick restoration of normal service.